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The burgeoning obesity and metabolic disease epidemics in the developed world are exerting a terrible toll on society, yet the precise mechanisms responsible for the emergence of these dramatic trends over a relatively short period of time remain poorly understood. Philip A.Wood's book How Fat Works provides important insights into cellular lipid metabolism, as well as discussing some of the important external contributors to the development of human obesity. The foundation provided by this book allows for the exploration of how body fat has gone from hero during the millennia when starvation was the paramount nutritional risk to its current role as villain in our period of caloric excess. With the incredible personal and societal costs brought about by excess body weight, a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms responsible for obesity is fundamentally necessary if we are to reverse these dire trends. Here, we delve deeper into some of the forces contributing to the obesity epidemic and discuss some individual measures as well as public policy decisions that may help reverse weight trends, while specifically focusing on the growing problem of pediatric obesity.