INTRODUCTION: The frequency of childhood obesity is increasing globally with negative impact on health status. The aim of this study was to measure the frequency of obesity among school children in the South Jutland County. MATERIAL AND METHODS: School children in the South Jutland County (n = 4,894) in the age groups 5-8-year-olds and 13-17-year-olds were examined for obesity in the school year 2004/5. Most of the children (73.9%) were included. They were examined by municipal health workers when they started school and when they subsequently left. The data was classified according to the international standard for paediatric body mass index (BMI). RESULTS: Among the 5-8-year-olds a total of 13.7% were obese or severely obese. Within this age group, the percentage of obesity was higher among girls (16.5%) than among boys (11%) (Z = -4.02). Within the before-mentioned obesity group, 4.4% were severely obese girls and 2.6% were severely obese boys (Z = -2.47). In the group of 13-17-year-olds, 19.6% were obese or severely obese (19.9% girls and 19.3% boys). Among the 13-17-year-olds more boys (4.5%) than girls (2.8%) were severely obese. CONCLUSION: The study showed that an enhanced effort to prevent obesity is necessary due to the alarming prevalence of obesity among school children. A national data register collected by municipal health workers combined with national and municipal strategies may contribute substantially to improved measures aimed at reducing obesity in children.