The melanocortin system is involved in hypothalamic regulation of energy homeostasis. The melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) has been linked to both obesity and reproductive dysfunction. Deletion of the MC4R from the mouse genome has resulted in phenotypes including adult onset obesity, hyperphagia, and difficulty in reproducing when homozygote parents are bred. Additionally, polymorphisms of the human MC4R have been identified in morbidly obese children and adults. Herein, we have identified that voluntary exercise, provided via the presence of a running wheel, impedes the monogenetic obesity (at 20 weeks of age running wheel housed body weight=31+/-1.8 g versus conventionally housed body weight=41+/-2.3 g, a 25% decrease in body weight p<0.01), hyperphagia (average cumulative food intake is not statistically different than wild type mice housed in running wheel cages), and reproductive dysfunction phenotypes associated with the MC4R knockout mice housed by conventional means. These data demonstrate the novel finding that voluntary exercise at a young age may hinder genetically induced obesity.