The current obesity epidemic clearly has many causes, including the impact of our modern world on both our diet and our lifestyle/physical activity. Although many interventions have been recommended, the prevalence of obesity continues to rise and has forced a re-evaluation of the potential interventions that could have an impact. In recent years it has been definitively shown that microbiota in the gastrointestinal tract are altered in obese individuals. Recent data provide a potential mechanistic understanding of the interactions between microbiota and obesity and allow potential new interventions to the control of obesity to be proposed. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.