a1 Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 2–16 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK
Childhood obesity poses one of the greatest challenges to paediatric health in the 21st century. Developing effective strategies for treatment and prevention is therefore a priority for clinical medicine and public health. This process is taking place at a time of unprecedented change in the understanding of the role of genetic factors in human health and disease, and genetic research into obesity has challenged assumptions about causal processes. In the spirit of the conference theme, the present paper will discuss the implications of the understanding of genetic and environmental influences on obesity for the development of effective behavioural treatments.