By Morgan Downey

At this time of year, millions of Americans are hoping the new administration will solve our seemingly intractable problems at home and abroad. Millions are also hoping to lose weight in the new year. The two are not unrelated.

Over the past three decades, obesity has increased among all segments of the population, in the United States and abroad. Obesity is now recognized as the fuel behind many major health problems and a significant cause of increasing health care utilization and health care costs.

The efforts of the last eight years have been largely educational: tell people they should lose weight, eat more nutritiously, exercise more and hope. It has not worked. Other than surgery, nothing works very well to lose significant amounts for a long period of time.