"The big problem with this pro-fat acceptance movement is it takes us backwards," said Roth, "and it makes us pretend like we're debating whether obesity is bad, but obesity is bad."
On the other side of the debate were Marianne Kirby and Crystal Renn. Kirby, who proudly identifies herself as fat, is a leader of the Fat Acceptance Movement. In her book, "Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere," she argues that fat can be beautiful and healthy.
Kirby believes that fat men and women should not be ashamed and should accept their bodies, no matter what they are, without judgment.
"[MeMe] says a lot of inflammatory things that I think are pretty damaging to people," said Kirby prior to the debate, "but she's not a monster, she's not crazy. She's just a person. I'm not here to throw cupcakes at her."
Kirby was joined by Crystal Renn, the world's highest-paid plus-size model, and author of "Hungry: A Young Model's Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves." When she started modeling, she was a size zero, and she dieted her way to an eating disorder and a slew of health problems.
"I actually suffered from an eating disorder, anorexia, for three years, and it nearly took my life," said Renn. "And today, I can speak about health at any size because I really lived it through life experience."
As the audience gathered inside the Great Hall, the panelists made last minute preparations and met each other for the first time. After introductions, the panelists sat down and went through their opening arguments.
Kirby kicked off the debate. In America, one in three people is obese, but she believes that the health risks associated with obesity are exaggerated and it is possible to be overweight and healthy.
"I think that we look at health from an incredibly narrow standpoint," said Kirby. "I think that if you are eating healthfully if you are taking care of your own personal health… if you are taking care of those things, that's a completely divorced issue from weight."
Bensen, who struggled with her weight for most of her life, strongly disagreed. "I think it's very scary to be saying that you don't have health risks when you're overweight. I know from personal experience. I couldn't breathe when I slept at night."
"That does not mean that my situation affects my health in X, Y, Z," said Kirby. "So the blanket statement that there are all of these nasty consequences for being fat is kind of naive thing for us as a s society to believe."
Soon, the debate moved into mental health. In America, about 10 million women and one million men suffer from eating disorders. With issues like low self esteem on the table, the panelists were then asked if Americans, particularly children, where too fixated on the issue of size versus health.
"I think the most important thing that we can give to a child is a love for the body," said Roth, "and having cake and ice cream at someone's birthday party isn't why Americans [are] fat. It's acting like every day is somebody's birthday party is why America is fat.
"Food is a pleasurable thing," said Renn. "It can be a pleasurable thing in moderation. I absolutely believe there is nothing wrong with celebrating a birthday with something pleasurable such as food."