The identification of paediatric obesity predictors in the early stages of life is warranted, as it can influence the development of effective strategies to prevent metabolic disorders. In this case–control study, we assessed nine risk factors for paediatric obesity, namely a birth weight > 4000 g, an exclusive breast-feeding period < 4 months, the introduction of solid food at < 4 months, maternal overweight or obesity before pregnancy, maternal smoking during pregnancy, the presence of gestational diabetes, paternal overweight and obesity and paternal smoking. In order to identify the most relevant predictors of paediatric obesity, we employed a multiple logistic regression model with R2 Cox Snell by adjusting confounders. In the randomly selected 509 preschool children from Tehran, children exposed to gestational diabetes had the maximum predicted probability of obesity (4·36 (1·94, 9·80) %) among the analysed risk factors %. The introduction of solid food at < 4 months of age increased the risk of obesity by 2·98 (1·77, 4·97 %). The OR of childhood obesity was associated with maternal overweight and obesity (2·72(1·60–4·60) %), maternal smoking (2·21 (1·18, 4·11) %) and excessive gestational weight gain (1·89 (1·23, 2·91) %). Paternal smoking and high birth weight increased the risk of paediatrics obesity > 1·8 times (1·15–2·94) and > 1·5 times (1·015–2·43), respectively. There was no association between the paternal BMI, the exclusive breast-feeding time and the risk of paediatric obesity. Among early risk factors, probably gestational diabetes can be considered as the most important predictor for the risk of paediatric obesity.