SEA GIRT, N.J. (AP) -- Gov. Chris Christie lashed out Wednesday at a former White House doctor who said she worries about him dying in office because he is so heavy, telling her to "shut up."
Dr. Connie Mariano, who served as White House physician from 1992 to 2001, told CNN she'd like to see Christie run for president in 2016 but he needs to lose weight. She said she worries he could have a heart attack or stroke.
"I'm worried about this man dying in office," the doctor, who has a practice in Scottsdale, Ariz., told the network.
During a visit Wednesday to a shore town devastated by Superstorm Sandy, Christie was asked about the doctor's comments.
Unless Mariano gives him a physical exam and learns his family history, "she should shut up," the Republican governor said.
Christie said his children heard the doctor's comments and his preteen son asked him if he was going to die.
"This is just another hack who wants five minutes on TV," Christie said.
He has never revealed his weight, but he has repeatedly said keeping it in check has been a longtime struggle.
Christie joked about his size during an appearance Monday on "The Late Show with David Letterman," pulling out a doughnut and saying his girth is "fair game" for comedians.
The next day, he spoke frankly about his efforts to lose weight and described himself as "remarkably healthy," but he also acknowledged his doctor "continues to warn me that my luck is going to run out relatively soon."
Christie, often mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, has never released his medical records. He had one health scare during his first term, an asthma attack in the summer of 2011 that sent him to a hospital but did not require him to be admitted. He blamed it on the heat, not his weight.
Dr. Mariano has since responded to Christie's reaction in a statement to 3TV:
"It's unfortunate to hear that is Governor Christie's reaction. It doesn't take a physician to look at him and observe he is overweight.
It is sad that he can not take my advice about his weight and risk factors for people who are overweight/obese for diabetes, heart disease, stroke constructively and instead, he chose to attack me personally.
I appreciate his invitation to come out to New Jersey but he stated he had a doctor there who sees him. I recommend he follow up with his personal physician to help him."