This study examines the antiobesity effects of fucoidan in an animal model of diet-induced obesity. Mice were fed a standard diet or high-fat diet (HFD) for 5 weeks. After that, the mice were divided into four experimental groups, with 10 mice per group, including a standard diet group, HFD group, HFD containing 1% fucoidan (HFD + FUCO 1%) group and HFD containing 2% fucoidan (HFD + FUCO 2%) group. The fucoidan supplementation group had significantly decreased body-weight gain, food efficiency ratio and relative liver and epididymal fat mass compared with the HFD group. The mice supplemented with fucoidan showed significantly reduced triglyceride, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein levels in the plasma. Liver steatosis induced by the HFD improved in the fucoidan-supplemented group. Furthermore, fucoidan affected the down-regulation expression patterns of epididymal adipose tissue genes such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ, adipose-specific fatty acid binding protein and acetyl CoA carboxylase. Therefore, fucoidan may be considered for use in improving obesity. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.