Obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) often occur together and affect a growing number of individuals in both the developed and developing worlds. Both are associated with a number of other serious illnesses that lead to increased rates of mortality. There is likely a polygenic mode of inheritance underlying both disorders, but it has become increasingly clear that the pre- and postnatal environments play critical roles in pushing predisposed individuals over the edge into a disease state. This review focuses on the many genetic and environmental variables that interact to cause predisposed individuals to become obese and diabetic. The brain and its interactions with the external and internal environment are a major focus given the prominent role these interactions play in the regulation of energy and glucose homeostasis in health and disease.