Accurate and comprehensive data on the extent of the problem of childhood obesity is lacking in countries of the Middle East. This review, based on a Medline search, summarizes the prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents in the region during 1990-2007. The highest rates of obesity and overweight were reported from Bahrain and the lowest from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Studies from Saudi Arabia, Islamic Republic of Iran and Kuwait showed an upwards trend in childhood obesity compared with a decade ago. Lack of uniformity in reference standards and reporting systems renders comparisons difficult. Nevertheless, the I high prevalence of childhood obesity in the Middle East should stimulate policy-makers in the region to set up effective national and regional surveillance systems.