According to the latest data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention 17%, or 12.5 million, of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years in the United States are obese. Physical inactivity is designated as one of the actual causes of US deaths and undoubtedly contributes to the obesity epidemic in children and adults. Examining the effects of inactivity on physiological homeostasis during youth is crucial given that 58% of children between the ages 6-11 yr old fail to obtain the recommended 60 min/day of physical activity and 92% of adolescents fail to achieve this goal [Troiano et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 40, 2008]. Nonetheless, invasive mechanistic studies in children linking diminished physical activity with metabolic maladies are lacking for obvious ethical reasons. The rodent wheel lock (WL) model was adopted by our laboratory and others to study how different organ systems of juvenile rats respond to a cessation of daily physical activity. Our WL model houses rats in cages equipped with voluntary running wheels starting at 28 days of age. After a certain period of voluntary running (3 to 6 wk), the wheels are locked, thus preventing the rats' primary source of physical activity. The studies discussed herein suggest that obesity-associated maladies including skeletal muscle insulin resistance, hypothalamic leptin resistance, fatty acid oxidation impairments in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and endothelial dysfunction are initiated in juvenile animals that are restrained from voluntary exercise via WL. The use of the juvenile rodent WL or other inactivity models will continue to provide a powerful clinical translational tool that can be used for primordial prevention of human childhood obesity.