The Instigator
Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
1 Points

The Government has a Responsibility to Combat Obesity

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/14/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 571 times Debate No: 43961
Debate Rounds (3)
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For clarification, the title is really asking: does the government have a responsibility attempt to combat obesity, and their citizens lack of exercise, through legislation, changing curriculum, advertising, etc. Or does the responsibility fall solely on the individual?

First round for acceptances only.


I except your challenge.
Debate Round No. 1


And thank you for accepting!

As side pro, I will be arguing that obesity is a serious problem that requires a solution, and government intervention is the answer.

First, we must define what obesity is. Obesity is a growing problem in countries such as Canada, the U.S. Australia, and the U.K. [1] When a person is obese, not only are numerous health problems a direct result, [1] it causes a strain on economies where healthcare is public. [2] In summary, obesity is an extreme problem, damaging to health and the country's economy. It is obvious that this problem must be solved, so then the question falls to what action should be taken.

Pro's side of the argument suggests government intervention. To reinforce this, I will use the example of tobacco smoking.
Smoking cigarettes irrefutably is the cause of many illness, ranging from heart failure to lung cancer. Yet it was a growing trend for a large part of the 20th century. (Due to lack of information.) When information was present that showed cigarettes were damaging, the public refused to stop the habit. It was only when the government intervened, that things started to change. They raised the tax on cigarettes, which raised the price. They also began lengthy education programs in school, with the aim of education children on the horrible affects. [3] As a result, cigarette smoking has been on the decline since, and with it, many types of illness. In summary, government intervention was the solution for the national crisis which was smoking; individual intervention did not result in the decline of smoking.

The above argument can be related to obesity as well. Information is now being shown on just how damaging being overweight really is. Yet, as of 2014, obesity is on the incline. A government is morally responsible to act in the best interest of it's society. That means introducing taxes, advertising programs, and health programs to reduce obesity.



I have viewed the pro sides arguments and points of how he related obesity to smoking and how government intervention lowered the rates of smokers in this nation and I then present these arguments

We do not need smoking to live, however, we do need food to live. Now obviously nobody thinks that a Twinkie is breakfast, but there is the fact that eating comes more natural to people. smoking cigarettes for most people only started around 18 or 21 years old. Eating however, people have been doing that their entire lives and feel that it natural and normal to continue doing so in what ever amount that they feel is necessary to them. Therefore if you were to try and regulate what these people could consume and how much of it they could consume it would result in people simply ignoring these laws. Sure, you could pass a bill saying that you can't have a cup any bigger then a 16 oz. but do you really think people are going to let that stop them from what they feel is natural. They may just get two 16 oz. cups and drink'em both. As crazy as it sounds I have seen it happen.

An argument that you put forward saying that nations that have a high obesity rate often suffer from economic trouble because of it is quite frankly false. As evidence I will point to two soda corporations that have a standing in all of the nations that you have mentioned starting with Coca Cola. Coca Cola made over 35 billion dollars last year. You can find this information on the Pepsi-co ( that includes Mountain dew) made nearly 58 billion dollars. These soda corporation produce an unhealthy product which does contribute to the obesity rate however, are booming in profits. Your argument of economic problems being related to obesity are invalid, and if anything, obesity helps an economy.

And finally, my last argument against government intervention is, it is no the government job to say what we can and cannot eat. you must have some form of will on your own.
Debate Round No. 2


To further clarify my point, I will refute all of con's arguments.

Con's argument states that eating is a natural process, and that by regulating quantity, there will be no evident outcome. However, this is not relevant to my argument, as I never stated that the government should regulate the quantity you eat. I stated that the government should pass legislation to dissuade the general public from over-eating. It is natural to buy two 16 oz drinks if you want a 32 oz drink. It is not natural to buy a 32 oz drink if the price jumps 25%. For example, when a tax was imposed in Denmark, it showed that butter consumption dropped. [1, pg. 17]

Con argues that my statement on economic difficulty is unwarranted, and presents counter evidence. However, when I went to Con's source, I could find no such information after 15 minutes of searching.
However, to refute your argument, consider the following. There is a very big difference between the economy, and the revenue of a single company. When a company makes profit, that profit goes towards the company, not the government. When a company does well, it pays it's employee's well. Which in turn stimulates the economy. This stimulation however, is negligible compared to the damaging affects obesity puts on the government. In an above source, I gave merit to the fact that obesity can put as much as $100 billion of stress on the government. The stimulation an economy receives from a couple thousand prosperous employees does not make up for $100 billion in expenses.

Finally, Con states it is not within government bounds to tell it's citizens what to do. I say these arguments are unwarranted, as Con provided no reasoning. The statement "you must have some will of your own" is irrelevant, because government intervention is not taking away certain rights, or abilities. Government intervention is dissuading the large population from unhealthy habits, which lead to obesity.



I am sorry that I did not provide proper directions to were exactly I found the information on the revenue of both Pepsico and Coca Cola. your comments on how the revenue of a corporation does not go directly to the government is true. However, a percentage of the revenue made by any corporations does go to the government through income tax. Coca Cola paid 25% of their income last year, around 1 billion 4 hundred million dollars. Pepsico paid 27% of their income, around 15 billion 6 hundred million dollars. while i'm here, I might as well as mention that Macdonalds paid around 70 million in income taxes only four months ago. I will give more detailed instructions on how to get to my sources. The income tax I found for both Pepsico and Coca Cola was found on, although quite frankly, I just Googled the income tax and this was one of the results, but they seem to correspond with other articles I've read. I found MacDonalds income taxes on Google finance, from there you type in NYSE:MCD. It will then provide you with any financial information on Macdonalds that you would need. Where, might I ask, did you find the information saying obesity has caused 100 billion dollars in damage?

To my statement of " you must have will of your own." Is quite relevant. Contrary to what some people would say. The government has already taken initiatives to try and lower the obesity rate through information campaigns. They have specifically targeted schools and younger children. If you go to a public school, you know what i'm talking about. The children there have been told dozens of times about the dangers of obesity. They are aware of the health risks involving obesity. Most of them even know how to prevent, or at least combat, obesity. However, only a small minority of these children really take these lessons to heart. Most of them continue still to drink pop every day. A lot of them still have Macdonalds every week, even though they know it's bad for them. The same could be said for adults. You must then ask why these children keep going back to the things that they know are causing so much harm to their bodies. The answer is obvious, its addiction to these materials. No government has ever dissuaded an addict to stop doing what is harmful to them. They may have provided information on why the material is harmful, but the addict will continue going back for more and more of the product until they will themselves break the addiction, or they die. The government cannot provide will, only information. It is completely up to the addict of weather or not they can break the addiction.
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by STALIN 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:11 
Reasons for voting decision: both sides did really well. I couldn't decide!