The Instigator
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The Contender
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Child obesity not related to a pre-existing medical condition should be considered child abuse

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/20/2013 Category: Health
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,309 times Debate No: 31480
Debate Rounds (3)
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I stand here today to support the following resolution: Child obesity not related to a pre-existing medical condition should be considered child abuse.

This will mostly be a logic based debate, but if necesarry, sources may be provided.


Child obesity- The condition of being considered medically obese as a person under the age of 18, or in a person not legally emancipated from their parents. (because you can free yourself of your parents at 17 or younger in some states)

Pre-existing medical condition- a genetic condition that effects the bodies ability to keep itself at a healthy BMI when properly cared for.

Child abuse- a legal term relating to the mistreatment of minors in an individuals custody. Includes neglect, physical, mental, and emotional abuse.

Currently, the state considers it the duty of the parent to keep their child in good mental condition, to keep them properly fed, clothed, and bathed, and to more or less ensure their happiness. The parent should keep the child in good health, free from maladies and health risks. These are legal obligations that must be kept or the child will be at risk of being put into an alternate home on grounds of child abuse.

(source: Parental rights and responsibilities : analysing social policy and lived experiences by Harriet Churchill)

The most important part of this relating to this debate is the legal duty of the parent to keep the child in good health. One may think that an obese child is not in serious danger, but this is very clearly incorrect. My stance is based on the following points.

Point A: Health risks associated with obesity.
It is common knowledge that being severely overweight is linked to very serious health issues. These include, but are certainly not limitted to, high blood pressure, diabetes, blood clotting, clogged arteries (and subsequently, heart attacks), and in some extreme cases, immobility. Most of these conditions can lead to hospitilization and and of course death. For a parent to allow their child to be obese by not giving them a proper meal regimen and allowing them to neglect exercise is putting that child in the firing line of all these dangerous health issues.

Point B: Malnutrition.
There is no argument over whether a parent that starves their child is abusing them. A child given insufficient food will become malnourished and this produces completely separate health problems from the ones listed above. Over feeding, or feeding the child an unbalanced diet with an excess of fatties foods shouldn't be any different. In both cases the body is not receiving all the vitamins and minerals it needs to grow healthy and strong. When a body is deprived of minerals, bones become more breakable, scurvy is a possibility...this list goes on.

So, seeing as allowing a child to remain obese causes so many health problems, and thus is dangerous, it should indeed be considered a form of child abuse.

Further discussion upon Con's response.


First of all, good luck and thanks for hosting this debate. I am not sure what structure you intend this debate to follow, but since you just delineated a few points with your first round I will do the same for the sake of fairness. I am American and will use America as an example country in which the instigator"s law could be introduced, but the issues I will outline are pervasive across nations.
Point A: Impracticality of Enforcement and Economic Onus
The enforcement the law proposed by the instigator would be not only exceptionally onerous on the legal system, but also oppressive to the populace. Considering the fact that nearly 32 % of children in America are obese (, the amount of parents who would have to be arrested is astounding. In addition, the money that would be put into incarcerating all of these adults could be much better spent funding programs to fight obesity. Rather than incarcerating a significant part of the working population, which would stunt the growth of the economy and lead to the loss of millions if not billions of dollars, we could invest in expanding institutions such as physical activity and health education programs which fight obesity directly. Huge sums of money would have to be spent to enforce such a law as the instigator proposes and furthermore huge sums of money would be lost because of its enforcement. Rather than suffer these economic burdens so as to prosecute parents, we should invest the money into helping the children. Better to extend the hand of support than the finger of blame.
In addition, the way such a law would have to be carried out is ludicrous. Whatever agency assigned to enforcing it would not simply be able to check the children for obesity and arrest the parents. To determine whether or not the parents are culpable, food consumption among children would have to be monitored. Diet would be mandated by the government. Certain restaurants would fail as their customer bases are diverted by the government and competition in the food industry could be threatened.
Point B: Parental Culpability
Parents are not always responsible for the obesity of their children. Besides the cases of children predisposed to obesity, which the instigator accounted for, many children resist their parents" encouragement of a healthy diet. Parents cannot constantly monitor what food is consumed by their children. Many children sneak unhealthy food past their parents. As a child even I, despite never having any issues with obesity, used to sneak candy and soda that my parents would not let me have. Punishing the parents for obesity that could have resulted from the actions of their children without parental approval is unacceptable.
Point C: Societal Structure
Our society has become conducive to obesity. Children are provided with increasingly more stimulating activities that do not require physical activity, to the point that many would rather play a videogame which involves a sport than actually play the sport itself. Many parents cannot force their children into more physical activity without jeopardizing their relationships with their children.
Furthermore, the least expensive and most accessible food provided is often unhealthy. Low-income families cannot necessarily afford do provide their children with a healthy, balanced diet. This is especially true when working multiple jobs consumes time that could be spent cooking or a parent does not have the necessary skills to prepare healthy foods and must turn to fast food. Fast food is the most convenient and inexpensive food one can buy premade, and this shows in the high obesity rates of low-income households. In addition, even among store bought food to be prepared at home, unhealthy food is often far less expensive than healthy food. Top Ramen is the paradigm of this societal predisposition to unhealthy food.
Debate Round No. 1


MewxVenus forfeited this round.


I'll just wait until you respond to make more points
Debate Round No. 2


MewxVenus forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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