Editor's note

New Year’s resolutions are in full swing for millions this week, and chief among them is “I’m going to lose weight.” The disturbing truth behind this high hope is that Americans are not losing weight but gaining it. Kenneth Cusi, professor of endocrinology at the University of Florida, explains the science behind weight loss efforts in the first of a series of special articles on obesity. “Research has shown,” Cusi writes, “that the fixes are not about dieting.”

Whether your resolution is weight-related or not, you may need some self-control in order to cross it off the list. Texas A&M’s Marco Palma used a biometric approach to investigate a long-running question about self-control: Is it a finite resource you can exhaust or is it a skill you can build up with practice? What he found may help you successfully stick with those resolutions.

And for those wanting to start the year by expressing gratitude, Penn State’s Jeremy David Engels suggests rethinking how it is defined – not as a debt, but as an opportunity.

Happy 2018!

Lynne Anderson

Health + Medicine Editor

Top stories

A woman exercising. Thousands of people will be doing the same this week in an effort to lose weight, a perennial resolution. UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

Our fight with fat: Why is obesity getting worse?

Kenneth Cusi, University of Florida

Despite the efforts of millions of Americans, obesity rates continue to climb. Why is it so hard to lose weight and to keep it off? It's a lot more complicated than just pushing back the plate.

Let your self-control gain momentum like a snowball rolling downhill. Sira Anamwong/Shutterstock.com

Research on how self-control works could help you stick with New Year's resolutions

Marco A. Palma, Texas A&M University

Could your resolution resilience use a little scientific research to back it up? A new study suggests practice can help your self-control – but don't push it too far.

What really is the art of gratitude? Joanne Morton

This new year -- rethinking gratitude

Jeremy David Engels, Pennsylvania State University

Why you might be getting gratitude all wrong.

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Today’s quote

In order to love our monsters, we have to have some basic agreement about when they are misbehaving and what to do about it.


What can be done about our modern-day Frankensteins?

Adam Briggle

University of North Texas

Adam Briggle