We determined the prevalence of overweight and obesity in young Greek men in 2006 and examined variations related to their place of residence and educational level. Body height and weight were measured in 2568 conscripts of the Greek army, aged 19–26 years. The calculated body mass index (BMI, kg m−2) was correlated to their socio-demographic characteristics, i.e. level of education and place of residence (urban or rural). Overweight and obesity were defined according to the World Health Organization classification. Mean BMI (standard deviation) of the conscripts was 24.7 (4.2). The prevalence of overweight (30 > BMI ≥ 25 kg m−2) was 28.5% and correlated positively with a higher educational level, whereas the prevalence of obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg m−2) was 10.4% and correlated positively with a lower educational level. Our data were compared with those of similar studies performed in the years 1969: BMI 23.8 (1.4) (P < 0.0001) and 1990: BMI 23.8 (2.9) (P < 0.0001), showing a positive secular trend for BMI in Greek conscripts in the last 16 years. In conclusion, we documented an alarmingly high prevalence of overweight and obesity among young Greek men.