Lifestyle factors related to obesity, eating behavior, and physical activity play a major role in the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. In recent years, there has been progress in the development of behavioral strategies to modify these lifestyle behaviors. Further research, however, is clearly needed, because the rates of obesity in our country are escalating, and changing behavior for the long term has proven to be very difficult. This review article, which grew out of a National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases conference on behavioral science research in diabetes, identifies four key topics related to obesity and physical activity that should be given high priority in future research efforts: 1) environmental factors related to obesity, eating, and physical activity; 2) adoption and maintenance of healthful eating, physical activity, and weight; 3) etiology of eating and physical activity; and 4) multiple behavior changes. This review article discusses the significance of each of these four topics, briefly reviews prior research in each area, identifies barriers to progress, and makes specific research recommendations.