Abstract. In order to evaluate the secretion of betaendorphin in obese children and adolescents, we measured plasma beta-endorphin, ACTH and cortisol levels before and following administration of CRH (1 μg/kg). Fourteen normal weight and 22 obese subjects (weight excess ranging from 30 to 98%) were studied. Plasma hormone levels were measured by radioimmunoassay directly in plasma (cortisol, ACTH) and after silicic acid extraction and Sephadex G-75 column chromatography (beta-endorphin). Basal beta-endorphin levels in obese children were significantly higher than in controls (14.7 ± 1.8 vs 6.0 ± 0.6 pmol/l; mean ± sem). No differences were found in basal ACTH and cortisol levels. CRH administration significantly increased beta-endorphin, ACTH and cortisol levels in normal subjects and ACTH and cortisol levels in obese subjects. Plasma beta-endorphin levels in obese children and adolescents did not show any significant increment. These data confirm the higher than normal beta-endorphin plasma levels in obese subjects in childhood and demonstrate that CRH is unable to increase beta-endorphin levels, suggesting an impairment of the hypothalamo-pituitary control mechanisms or an extra-anterior pituitary source.