The epidemic of overweight and obesity presents a major challenge to chronic disease prevention and health across the life course around the world. Fueled by economic growth, industrialization, mechanized transport, urbanization, an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, and a nutritional transition to processed foods and high-calorie diets over the last 30 years, many countries have witnessed the prevalence of obesity in its citizens double and even quadruple. A rising prevalence of childhood obesity, in particular, forebodes a staggering burden of disease in individuals and healthcare systems in the decades to come. A complex, multifactorial disease, with genetic, behavioral, socioeconomic, and environmental origins, obesity raises the risk of debilitating morbidity and mortality. Relying primarily on epidemiologic evidence published within the last decade, this non-exhaustive review discusses the extent of the obesity epidemic, its risk factors-known and novel-, sequelae, and economic impact across the globe.