The 2013 Pennington Biomedical Research Center's Scientific Symposium focused on the treatment and management of pediatric obesity and was designed to (i) review recent scientific advances in the prevention, clinical treatment and management of pediatric obesity, (ii) integrate the latest published and unpublished findings and (iii) explore how these advances can be integrated into clinical and public health approaches. The symposium provided an overview of important new advances in the field, which led to several recommendations for incorporating the scientific evidence into practice. The science presented covered a range of topics related to pediatric obesity, including the role of genetic differences, epigenetic events influenced by in utero development, pre-pregnancy maternal obesity status, maternal nutrition and maternal weight gain on developmental programming of adiposity in offspring. Finally, the relative merits of a range of various behavioral approaches targeted at pediatric obesity were covered, together with the specific roles of pharmacotherapy and bariatric surgery in pediatric populations. In summary, pediatric obesity is a very challenging problem that is unprecedented in evolutionary terms; one which has the capacity to negate many of the health benefits that have contributed to the increased longevity observed in the developed world.