During the past two decades, the prevalence of obesity in children has risen greatly worldwide. Obesity in childhood causes a wide range of serious complications, and increases the risk of premature illness and death later in life, raising public-health concerns. Results of research have provided new insights into the physiological basis of bodyweight regulation. However, treatment for childhood obesity remains largely ineffective. In view of its rapid development in genetically stable populations, the childhood obesity epidemic can be primarily attributed to adverse environmental factors for which straightforward, if politically difficult, solutions exist.