“It's a real public service to have debates that bring top-tier participants together and add the sizzle of prize fight competition to a discussion of issues of first-order importance.”

- The Atlantic

More praise for IQ2 US

Obesity is the Government's Business

From the Panel

  • For: David Satcher

  • The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity 2001
    The US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Office of the Surgeon General, 2001 Working with the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, along with other agencies in the Department of Health and Human Services, Surgeon General Satcher developed this Call To Action To Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity. Its ultimate goal: to set priorities and establish strategies and actions to reduce overweight and obesity. The Surgeon General's Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation, published in 2010, is the current surgeon general Dr. Regina Benjamin's plan to strengthen and expand this blueprint for action created by her predecessor.
  • Investing in the Health and Well-Being of Our Children
    David Satcher, Childhood Obesity, June 2011 There is no greater investment that a nation can make than to invest in the health of children and their early development. By so doing, we not only prevent diseases in childhood but also most of the health problems of adulthood, including major disparities in health among different racial and socioeconomic groups.
  • Physical Activity and Health
    A Report of the Surgeon General, 1996 This first Surgeon General’s report on physical activity was released on the eve of the Centennial Olympic Games, held in Atlanta, Georgia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), under the direction of David Satcher, was the lead federal agency in preparing this report.
  • Has America Reached its Tipping Point on Obesity?
    Remarks by David Satcher, STOP Obesity Alliance, September 9, 2009 Former Surgeon General David Satcher discusses obesity and promoting healthy lifestyles in his remarks at the STOP Obesity Alliance.

  • For: Pamela Peeke

  • Twinkies Are Science Fair Projects
    Katy Waldman interviews Pamela Peeke, Slate, February 2, 2012 According to Peeke, she's not advocating for a nanny state, but there's a lot the government can do, like promoting more research and education.
  • Childhood Obesity and Parental Neglect
    Pamela Peeke, Everyday Fitness, WebMD, July 21, 2010 Every parent must be a role model for their children by walking the talk and creating a healthy living environment for the whole family.
  • Can You Tax Away Obesity
    Pamela Peeke, Huffington Post, June 25, 2010 Obesity requires solutions based on the participation of everyone—government, business, non-profit organizations, the medical community, schools, community and religious leaders... everyone, working together cooperatively to identify answers and take action.
  • Junk Food Junkie: Food Addiction is Real
    Pamela Peeke, Everyday Fitness, WebMD, April 13, 2010 Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute have just published a study that explains why you eat so compulsively around particular foods. You may actually be a junk food junkie!
  • Everyday Fitness
    Pamela Peeke, WebMD Peeke’s blog on WebMD.
  • Against: Paul Campos

  • The Politics of Fat
    Paul Campos, Clarke Forum lecture at Dickinson College, March 22, 2011 Campos argues for the concept of body liberation: the idea that a more inclusive idea of what constitutes a healthy and desirable body would do far more good than efforts to make Americans slimmer.
  • Childhood Shmobesity
    Paul Campos, New Republic, February 11, 2010 Everyone should support reasonable attempts to make it easier for all children to enjoy a healthy balance of foods and the pleasures and benefits of physical activity. Trying to do so by stigmatizing the bodies of one out of every three American kids is a horrible idea.
  • How Obese Are We?
    Paul Campos and Kelly Brownell, Los Angeles Times, September 17-21, 2007
    Day One: How Obese Are We?
    Day Two: Why is our flab state business?
    Day Three: The Best Anti-Obesity Policies
    Day Four: Obesity Myths
    Day Five: Culture Matters in the Obesity Debate
  • America’s Moral Panic Over Obesity
    Megan McArdle interview with Paul Campos, Atlantic, July 29, 2009 McArdle interviews Paul Campos, author of The Obesity Myth, which argues that the health benefits of losing weight are largely imaginary; that we are using "health" to advance our class bias in favor of thin people, particularly thin women.
  • Is Weight the New Race?
    Rachel Cooke, Observer, July 8, 2006 Do we demonise the obese purely on health grounds or is it a gut reaction based on prejudice?
  • No Proof Paula Deen’s High-Fat Southern Cooking Caused Her Diabetes
    Paul Campos, Daily Beast January 17, 2012 Heads were shaking across America when the celebrity chef revealed she had type 2 diabetes. Of course her rich Southern cooking was to blame! But Campos says there’s no evidence of that—and we should quit moralizing.
  • Anti-Obesity Ads Won’t Work By Telling Fat Kids to Stop Being Fat
    Paul Campos, Daily Beast, January 4, 2012 A controversial Georgia ad campaign that aims to reduce obesity in children warns them of all the problems they face by being overweight, but how is telling fat kids they’re fat going to help make them thin?

  • Against: John Stossel

  • Fat Politics
    John Stossel, Stossel, June 25, 2010 Stossel discusses what is really behind the “obesity epidemic” with J. Eric Oliver, author of Fat Politics.
  • No Soup for You: the Government’s War on Food John Stossel, John Stossel’s Take, Fox Business August 5, 2011 Obesity is not a public health problem, it’s a private one. And government regulations that seek to “make us healthier” infringe on personal liberty.
  • Michelle Obama and the Food Police
    John Stossel, John Stossel’s Take, Fox Business, September 14, 2010 If the government is allowed to dictate our diet, what's next? Do they start deciding who we'll marry, where we'll work?
  • Produce More Meat! Eat More Veggies!
    John Stossel, John Stossel’s Take, Fox Business, March 29, 2010 No crop should get subsidies. But the politicians’ solution is to keep supporting meat production -- and then turn around and pay schools to serve vegetables.

Articles For & Against

  • For Government Intervention

  • Obesity, Battle of the Bulge-Policy Behind Change: Whose Responsibility Is It and Who Pays?
    Adrienne Mercer, Health Education Journal, December 2010 When addressing responsibility for obese and overweight, all variables must be addressed: the individual, government, community and the food industry must lay claim to the impact of unhealthy choices and lack of access in the nation.
  • F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2011
    Trust for America’s Health and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, July 2011 Adult obesity rates increased in 16 states in the past year and did not decline in any state, according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2011, a report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 
  • Obesity
    Lancet, August 26, 2011 This four-part series examines the global obesity pandemic: its drivers, its economic and health burden, the physiology behind weight control and maintenance, and what science tells us about the kind of actions that are needed to change our obesogenic environment. The fourth paper concludes that sustained interventions at several levels, with national governments taking the lead, are necessary to halt and reverse the epidemic.
  • Tackling Obesities: Future Choices—Project Report, 2nd Edition
    Foresight Programme, Government Office for Science, UK 2007 Although personal responsibility plays a crucial part in weight gain, we are being overwhelmed by the effects of today’s “obesogenic” environment, with its abundance of energy dense food, motorized transport, and sedentary lifestyles. This report finds that a substantial degree of intervention is required to affect an impact on the rising trend in obesity.
  • Against The Motion

  • Does Government Have a Role in Curbing Obesity?
    Michael L. Marlow and Alden F. Shiers, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Fall 2012 Economics professors Marlow and Shiers predict government intervention will make obesity worse as it crowds out market-based solutions.
  • Children, Parents, and Obesity
    Julie Gunlock, National Affairs, Winter 2011 A better approach to our nation’s childhood-obesity problem would be to scale back government-provided and subsidized meal programs significantly and to reduce the number of children eating these largely unhealthy meals.
  • Food Police
    Center for Consumer Freedom, June 25, 2010 The Center for Consumer Freedom, which promotes personal responsibility and consumer choice, oppose authoritarian proposals to tax, legislate, and litigate away food and beverage choices.
  • Overreaching on Obesity: Governments Consider New Taxes on Soda and Candy
    Scott Drenkard, Tax Foundation, October 31, 2011 Singling out soda and candy for taxation is a poor method of combating obesity. Proponents of obesity taxation argue that they are helping to internalize externalities, yet what they really do is unfairly burden all who enjoy soda and candy, regardless of what might be otherwise very healthy lifestyle habits.
  • Competitive Food Sales in Schools and Childhood Obesity
    Jennifer Van Hook and Claire E. Altman, Sociology of Education, January 2012 The vast majority of American middle schools and high schools sell what are known as “competitive foods,” such as soft drinks, candy bars, and chips, to children. The authors found that children’s weight gain between fifth and eighth grades was not associated with the introduction or the duration of exposure to competitive food sales in middle school.

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