The interactions between obesity and infectious diseases have recently received increasing recognition as emerging data have indicated an association between obesity and poor outcome in pandemic H1N1 influenza infection. Obesity is an established risk factor for surgical-site infections, nosocomial infections, periodontitis and skin infections. Several studies indicate that acute pancreatitis is more severe in the obese. Data are controversial and limited as regards the association between obesity and the risk and outcome of community-acquired infections such as pneumonia, bacteremia and sepsis and obesity and the course of HIV infection. As the cause-effect relationship between obesity and infection remains obscure in many infectious diseases, further studies are warranted. The consequences of obesity may have substantial effects on the global burden of infectious diseases.