Obesity has been on the increase among people of the Arabian Gulf countries. Overweight and obesity among 18–29-year-old Kuwaiti men increased by 23·4 and 14·8 % respectively, between 1980 and 1993. The objective of the present study was to explore factors associated with overweight and obesity in a sample of 515 Kuwaiti college men studied in 1997. Weight and height were measured. The index of adiposity used was the BMI, which is the weight (kg) divided by the height (m) squared (kg/m2). The men were classified as overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m2) or obese (BMI > 30 kg/m2). The associated factors obtained through questionnaires included age, marital status, governorate, number of siblings, suffering from a chronic disease, subjects' parental obesity, education and occupation, number of major meals eaten, eating between meals, family income, number of servants, number of people living at home, exercising, last dental and physical check-up, dieting, year of study, highest desired degree after college, countries preferred for visiting, and socio-economic status. The results of the study revealed that 38·5 and 11·1% of the students were overweight and obese respectively. Factors that were found to be significantly associated with overweight and obesity among the men included age, marital status, last dental check-up, exercising, subjects' parental obesity, dieting and year of study. Logistic regression analysis of significant associated factors revealed that the same factors contributed to the development of overweight and obesity.