Obesity is a rapidly growing threat to public health, driven by the increased occurrence of high caloric diets and sedentary lifestyles. Within this environment, genetic influences may largely determine inter-individual differences in obesity-related traits. To map genes involved in weight regulation, we performed a genome-wide linkage scan for body mass index (BMI), a reliable measure of total body fat, in 192 Dutch families including 315 twins and 210 siblings with data on BMI. Using variance components linkage analysis, regions with LOD-scores greater than 2 were observed on 6p25.1 (LOD-score, 2.13) and 7p21.1 (LOD-score, 2.40). LOD-scores higher than 1 were found on chromosomes 3, 13, 15 and 21. Of note, evidence for the putative quantitative trait locus for BMI on 7p was obtained previously from such diverse populations as Mexican-Americans, Asians and Nigerians, suggesting that the underlying genes may effect weight regulation in diverse environments. An obvious positional candidate in the 7p linkage region is the gene encoding neuropeptide Y (NPY) that controls satiety and food intake.