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Dear Editors,

We thank Drs Frank and Kahan for their letter. We have been expecting such a response to our cartoons (that is the purpose of the medium). However, we do respectively disagree on a number of counts:

  • 1
    Obesity Reviews is a professional journal. It is read primarily by specialists and is not likely to be thumbed through in a doctor's waiting room. As such, the cartoons are meant to provide light relief (and hopefully insight – see below) to specialists working in the area.
  • 2
    You will notice most of our cartoons focus on what we consider to be the real causes of modern problems of overweight (in contrast to genetically determined obesity) i.e. the obesogenic environment. This is designed to get specialists thinking outside the conventional and limited square of self-responsibility.
  • 3
    As discussed in my 2006 ICO presentation on ‘Laughing off fat’, humour has been carefully considered through research for our men's programmes in Australia (GutBusters/Professor Trim's), as a means of getting men engaged in their own health – and particularly weight – as this is a major impediment to self-management. We are aware this does not work with women and may even offend some. You will have noticed our cartoons focus only on male foibles.
  • 4
    The obesity problem is not going away. Nor is it getting better. Surely this means new (and perhaps confronting) approaches must be considered if we are to find anything that works.
  • 5
    Finally, when we cannot find anything funny about an issue, it means we have ‘pulled down the shutters’. Let's hope obesity science has not yet come to that.

We do thank your correspondents for bringing this to light, as the decision to publish these cartoons was not taken lightly by us or the Editors of Obesity Reviews.

At very least we now have a great new idea for a cartoon – obesity researcher's reaction to cartoons about obesity. Watch this space.