The threat of obesity is greater than ever for US children and adolescents. All indications are that the current generation of children will grow into the most obese generation of adults in US history. Furthermore, there is every expectation that the next generation of children is likely to be fatter and less fit than the current generation. Despite the recognition of the severe health and psychosocial damage done by childhood obesity, it remains low on the public agenda of important issues facing policy makers. Perhaps this is because the most serious health effects of obesity in today's children will not be seen for several decades. Action must be taken now to stem the epidemic of childhood obesity. This action will require a prioritization of research into the etiology, treatment, and prevention of childhood obesity. It is unlikely that sufficient resources for such research will be available from public and private sources until the issue of childhood obesity is moved higher on the public agenda.