Efforts to combat childhood obesity in Australia are hampered by the lack of quality epidemiological data to routinely monitor the prevalence and distribution of the condition. This paper summarises the literature on issues relevant to childhood obesity monitoring and makes recommendations for implementing a school-based childhood obesity monitoring program in Australia. The primary purpose of such a program would be to collect population-level health data to inform both policy and the development and evaluation of community-based obesity prevention interventions. Recommendations are made for the types of data to be collected, data collection procedures and program management and evaluation. Data from an obesity monitoring program are crucial for directing and informing policies, practices and services, identifying subgroups at greatest risk of obesity and evaluating progress towards meeting obesity-related targets. Such data would also increase the community awareness necessary to foster change.