Suicides Up Among U.S. Kids; Girls’ Deaths Highest

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Suicide rates are on the rise among American children, but the increase is greatest among girls, a new study finds.

"Overall, we found a disproportionate increase in female youth suicide rates compared to males, resulting in a narrowing of the gap between male and female suicide rates," said study author Donna Ruch. She is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among Americans aged 10 to 19, with rates historically higher in boys than girls. However, recent reports from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a greater increase in suicide rates among girls than boys.

In this study, the researchers examined data on youth suicides from 1975 through 2016.

The findings showed that youth suicide rates for both sexes fell in the early 1990s. But they have increased for both sexes since 2007, with larger increases among girls than boys, particularly among girls aged 10 to 14.

Rates of female suicides by hanging or suffocation are approaching those of males, which is troubling considering the "gender paradox" in suicidal behavior, according to study co-author Jeff Bridge, director of the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research.

Females have higher rates of nonfatal suicidal behavior, such as thinking about and attempting suicide, but more males die by suicide than females, Bridge said.

"One of the potential contributors to this gender paradox is that males tend to use more violent means, such as guns or hanging," Bridge noted in a Nationwide news release. "That makes the narrowing of the gender gap in suicide by hanging or suffocation that we found especially concerning from a public health perspective."

The study was published online May 17 in JAMA Network Open.

Future research should look at whether gender-specific suicide risk factors have changed in recent years and how that information could improve suicide prevention efforts, the study authors said.

Asking children directly about suicide will not trigger suicidal thinking or behavior, Bridge said.

"Parents need to be aware of the warning signs of suicide, which include a child making suicidal statements, being unhappy for an extended period, withdrawing from friends or school activities or being increasingly aggressive or irritable," he explained.

"If parents observe these warning signs in their child, they should consider taking the child to see a mental health professional," Bridge advised.

For Women With HIV, Life Can Hurt Fight for Health

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Day-to-day struggles prevent many American women with HIV from taking medicines to suppress the AIDS-causing virus, a new study shows.

"Survival is a priority over putting a pill in your mouth for a number of our participants, and that is the public health challenge we must address," said study first author Dr. Seble Kassaye, an associate professor at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

"The truth of their lives is a lot less rosy than a few lines of statistics in a summary report can reveal," she added in a medical center news release.

The study of nearly 2,000 HIV-positive women in Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago and San Francisco who have been followed since 1994 found that many have been able to control their HIV levels, off and on.

But ongoing challenges such as mental health, unstable housing and lack of social support prevent many from achieving effective and sustained HIV suppression, according to the authors of the study published May 17 in the journal JAMA Network Open.

The women were interviewed and gave blood samples every six months to determine whether their HIV was well controlled or uncontrolled, a condition called viremia.

Over 23 years, 29% were at low probability for viremia; 39% were at intermediate probability; and 32% were at high probability.

Between 2015 and 2017, 71% of women achieved sustained HIV suppression, including 35% with a high probability of viremia, according to the researchers.

"So, the rosy picture is that 71% of the women achieved viral suppression, but the granular detail tells us that some women are doing very well with 89.6% of the women in the low probability of viremia consistently suppressed in the recent years, but others are still struggling to get to viral suppression," Kassaye said.

Because current HIV drug treatment is much less toxic than it used to be and is now suggested for anyone who has the virus, it's widely used. But obstacles persist.

The study found that women in the high viremia group were more likely to report depressive symptoms (54%) and have higher levels of illicit drug (41%) and alcohol use (14%). They were also less likely to have stable housing (66%); and more likely to die prematurely (39%).

Continued

Kassaye said public health issues and stigma surrounding HIV remain common in Washington, D.C.

"My colleagues have treated generations of HIV-positive women: grandmothers, their daughters, and their granddaughters," she said. "I have seen women with HIV who do not have any support, but if that person develops cancer, there will be a roomful of people coming to the clinic with her."

Achieving universal HIV treatment and viral suppression will require what is known as "wraparound" care, she said.

That's a term for non-medical services to assist patients who may need help taking medications regularly, getting to appointments on time or coping with stress. This safety net can also include help with housing, transportation, child care and the like, according to the global health strategy firm Rabin Martin.

E-Cig Makers’ Free Stuff Leads More Teens to Vape

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Coupons, samples, branded hats and T-shirts: When teens use or wear promotional items from companies that make alternative tobacco products like electronic cigarettes, they are more likely to try those products, new research shows.

The study included 757 California teens, aged 13 to 19, who were followed for a year. At the beginning of the year, none of them had ever used alternative tobacco products such as e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, cigarillos, pipes and hookahs.

However, 81 owned items that promoted tobacco products, including 52 who owned promotional items for e-cigarettes.

During the next year, 129 participants (17%) started using alternative tobacco products but not traditional cigarettes, and 12 began using traditional cigarettes alone or in combination with alternative tobacco products, the findings showed.

Before adjusting for other factors, the researchers found that teens who owned promotional items were 2.3 times more likely to try alternative tobacco products than those who did not.

After adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity, maternal education level and baseline alcohol and cigarette use, teens who owned promotional materials were 2.1 times more likely to begin using alternative tobacco products.

Among teens who tried both alternative tobacco products and cigarettes, the influence of owning promotional materials was not statistically significant, the researchers said.

The findings were published online May 17 in JAMA Network Open.

"The increase in use of alternative tobacco products poses a threat to the decades of hard work that public health experts have done to reduce tobacco use," said study author Hoda Magid. She is a postdoctoral scholar in health research and policy at Stanford University's School of Medicine.

These findings suggest that no tobacco company — including e-cigarette makers — should be allowed to give marketing materials to teens, and that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should further restrict such marketing techniques, senior study author Bonnie Halpern-Felsher said in a university news release. Halpern-Felsher is a professor of pediatrics at Stanford.

Magid added that "manufacturers say they're not marketing to teens, but teens are reporting owning these promotional items, and they're reporting use of alternative tobacco products."

So while the study cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship, the results "provide evidence that ownership of marketing materials is strongly associated with more young people using e-cigarettes and other alternative tobacco products," the researchers said in the news release.

The Unsexy Truth: Fewer in the U.S. Having Sex

May17, 2019 — We are living in sexy times. The shows and channels we watch are smoking hot. From Game of Thrones to Pornhub to Netflix shows like Sex Education and Outlander, you can see more graphic intercourse — both simulated and real — on more screens than ever before. Frank discussions of BDSM, sex toys, and anal sex are so common as to barely elicit a reaction or blink of any eye.

And between all the talk of sexting and the pearl-clutching horror over dating apps, you might get the impression that your fellow Americans are all rolling around in a big sweaty and salacious pile every weekend while you order DoorDash for one.

But there’s a new reason to not feel so bad about solo Saturday nights. New data suggest there’s a rather unsexy backstory to all the steamy action portrayed on our screens both big and small. Fewer people are actually doing the deed than in the past, including young adults and teens who seem to be less sexually active than their peers in previous generations.

Why that’s the case is yet to be determined, but here’s what we know so far.

The Trend Is Showing Up in Various Types of Research

While people can be notoriously untruthful when it comes to telling researchers how much and what types of sex they have, the evidence is coming in from multiple sources suggesting that the “sex recession” trend is real.

In March, Christopher Ingraham crunched numbers from the General Social Survey (GSS), which is data from a nationally representative sample of Americans over 18 collected nearly every year. He reported in The Washington Post that in 2018, 23% of adults in the US, or nearly 1 in 4 people, reported having no sex at in the previous year — a record high (or low, depending on how you see it).

That was in part due to an aging population. About 50% of people 60 and older report having no sex in the past year, a percentage that has remained stable over time. The proportion of people in that age group increased from 18% to 23% between 1996 and 2018, which can influence the numbers in terms of overall sexual activity.

But a change is also happening among young adults ages 18 to 29. The number reporting no sex in the previous year doubled from 2008 to 2018, to 23%. Overall, 28% of men who were younger than 30 said they had no sex in the previous year.

That no-sex data seem to support a trend that has been going on for years. A 2016 study of the same data by Jean Twenge, PhD, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, and colleagues found that 15% of people born in the 1990s (ages 20 to 24) had no sexual partners after age 18 at the time of the study, compared with 6% people the same age born in the 1960s.

She published another study in 2017 that found that adults had sex nine fewer times a year in the early 2010s, compared with the late 1990s. Controlling for age and time period, people born in the 1930s, or the silent generation, had the most sex, and those born in the 1990s (millennials) had the least. Adults in their 20s reported having sex 80 times a year, compared with 20 times a year for people in their 60s.

The decline in this study did not seem to be linked to longer working hours or pornography use (both of which were actually linked to more sex in the study), and the authors concluded it seemed to be mostly due to fewer people being in marriages or partnerships. Having a regular partner helps with sexual activity, although sex declined among partnered people too.

“Good sex can happen in a lot of contexts, but I think having a partner with whom you have good sex, with whom you can really develop good sex, and learn how to have good sex is important,” says New York City-based sex therapist Ian Kerner, PhD. “So if you are living in a generation where single people may always have another option for dating, or are on that dating treadmill, you may not end up getting into the kinds of relationships that lead to the trust and familiarity that can be the foundation for good sex.”

Mediocre or not-so-great sex can discourage people from seeking it out, he says.

There are also other things involved in the trend, Twenge says, noting that people get married later and that married people have more sex.

“Even living together now happens at a later age,” she says in an email. More young adults live with their parents, which “may not be a good situation for bringing sexual partners home.”

There are also more options for entertainment via streaming or social media, as well as a decline in happiness and increases in depression.

And it’s not just sex. People are more likely to have fewer or no children, or have them later, than they did in the past. The U.S. fertility rate in 2016 was 1.80 births per woman in the country, the lowest level since 1983. The fertility rate measures the number of children a woman could expect to have over a lifetime at current birth rates. A fertility rate of about 2.1 is considered necessary to maintain population levels.

Teen pregnancy is also dropping. In 2017, nearly 200,000 babies were born to women between the ages of 15 and 19, a record low, and a 7% drop from 2016, according to the CDC.

The agency reports that the drop in teen birth rates is likely due to teens having less sex and that they are more likely to use birth control than in previous years

Laura Lindberg, PhD, a principal research scientist at the Guttmacher Institute in New York City, who specializes in adolescent sexual and reproductive health, says teens “have really improved how they use contraception.

She notes that teens, particularly young ones, are delaying other types of behaviors as well. “I think teenagers are a very special case of this,” she says. “We are seeing less engagement in a lot of behaviors, including simple things like driver’s licenses.”

“Delays in when teens first have sex hopefully represent their increased ability to decide for themselves if and when to have sex. And we have some evidence that there’s been an increase in the share of teens who say their first sex was wanted, as opposed to having mixed feelings about it or even reporting it as unwanted,” she says. “So I think that’s good news here, but we do need to be careful and not stigmatize those who have sex, again because it’s just a normal and healthy part of human development.”

Depression, Technology, Masturbation, and Porn?

It’s long been known that both depression and some of the antidepressants used to treat it can dampen libido.

Last year, the results from the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey of U.S. high school students found that sexual activity in teens was at the lowest point since the survey began 20 years ago. Overall, 40% of teens said they had had sex in 2017, compared with 48% of people the same age polled a decade earlier. At the same time, feelings of hopelessness and despair increased from 28.5% to 31.5% between 2007 and 2017.

The survey couldn’t determine if the two were related. But depression is on the rise. A 2018 analysis of health insurance data found that depression diagnoses were increasing in every age group in the U.S. but rising fastest in teens and young adults. Diagnoses of major depression went up 63% in kids ages 12 to 17 (from 1.6% to 2.6% between 2013 and 2016) and 47% in people ages 18 to 34 (from 3% to 4.4%).

Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressants, are known to have sexual side effects.

“More and more teens and young adults that I have seen in my practice are taking SSRIs, and those absolutely have sexual side effects, which include a substantial dampening of libido,” says Kerner.

And if not specifically depression, stress and anxiety don’t help either. “Stress and anxiety have always played a role in inhibiting libido,” Kerner says. “I think today’s young people — at least based on what I am seeing in my practice — are experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety, both work related and socially related and in the age of social media.”

Solo sex is also more socially acceptable than it once was, he says. “Certainly, masturbation and porn are less stigmatized, more normalized than they have been in previous generations, so just access to more sexual stimulation and self-stimulation could also be playing a role.”

For the most part, porn probably does not decrease sexual activity, since porn watchers tend to be interested in sex in general, Twenge says.

“But there appears to be a substantial segment of people for whom porn is enough, and real sex seems unnecessary,” she says. “Why risk rejection, sexually transmitted diseases, relationship arguments, or having to meet up with someone when you can watch porn in the privacy of your own bedroom and do things your way?”

Add a lack of free time and other compelling entertainment options, and you might end up with a national sex deficit.

“People are probably way more distracted by Netflix and HBO and social media and the internet, and they just literally aren’t carving out the time for sex,” Kerner says. “I do really, more than ever, hear from people, young people, who can’t make it work, scheduling-wise.”

It may be harder for young adults to meet long-term partners, says Twenge, who is the author of iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy — and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood. (Twenge defines iGen as anyone born between 1995 and 2012, and millennials as those born between 1980 and 1994.)

“If you’re not a looker, you’ll get swiped left on Tinder, even if you can reliably charm potential partners on the next bar stool,” she says. “With fewer people on those bar stools — and those who are there looking at Tinder on their phones instead of who’s next to them — a large group of people gets left out of the sexual scene.”

Some people might be opting out because they don’t want to take part in hookup culture, “which is often devoid of romance or even a hint of emotional intimacy,” Twenge says.

Having More Sex, if You Want It

So is a dearth of sexual activity bad for your health? Well, as Kerner points out, no one ever died from a lack of sex.

“On the other hand, sex is something that most of us are wired to do, and it triggers the brain’s opiate system in a way that’s natural and not synthetic, and it can be a relational and connecting experience,” he says. “I would say on the whole, sex is healthy and worth prioritizing.”

Research suggests that at least in couples in a positive, healthy relationship, sex can play a role in their overall happiness, Kerner says.

Sex is personal and specific, so it’s not easy to give advice that works for everyone, he says. But if you do have a partner, consider scheduling time for sex. “Sometimes people, especially younger people, think scheduled sex isn’t spontaneous and that sex should be spontaneous. I would say reframe that as prioritizing and making time for it.”

“I always think to myself, ‘Gosh, where there’s a will, there’s got to be a way.’ And if you really want to have sex with somebody, you figure out how not to be more tired and fatigued and missing the opportunities,” Kerner says. “I do hear from a lot of people who say, ‘We never really have the time to get to it.’ ”

Sex can sometimes get separated from the rest of the relationship. “They are not maintaining the erotic thread between experiences,” he says. “They are not keeping sex in the air.”

Kerner says it’s not a bad idea to think about what environment would make sex an enjoyable possibility.

“If there are a lot of stressors in your environment, think about eliminating some of those stressors. If there aren’t enough exciters or things that turn you on, then think about what does turn you on — whether it’s something physical about sex, a position, or a fantasy — and think about how to communicate that to a partner.”

Suicides Up Among U.S. Kids; Highest Amid Girls

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Suicide rates are on the rise among American children, but the increase is greatest among girls, a new study finds.

"Overall, we found a disproportionate increase in female youth suicide rates compared to males, resulting in a narrowing of the gap between male and female suicide rates," said study author Donna Ruch. She is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among Americans aged 10 to 19, with rates historically higher in boys than girls. However, recent reports from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a greater increase in suicide rates among girls than boys.

In this study, the researchers examined data on youth suicides from 1975 through 2016.

The findings showed that youth suicide rates for both sexes fell in the early 1990s. But they have increased for both sexes since 2007, with larger increases among girls than boys, particularly among girls aged 10 to 14.

Rates of female suicides by hanging or suffocation are approaching those of males, which is troubling considering the "gender paradox" in suicidal behavior, according to study co-author Jeff Bridge, director of the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research.

Females have higher rates of nonfatal suicidal behavior, such as thinking about and attempting suicide, but more males die by suicide than females, Bridge said.

"One of the potential contributors to this gender paradox is that males tend to use more violent means, such as guns or hanging," Bridge noted in a Nationwide news release. "That makes the narrowing of the gender gap in suicide by hanging or suffocation that we found especially concerning from a public health perspective."

The study was published online May 17 in JAMA Network Open.

Future research should look at whether gender-specific suicide risk factors have changed in recent years and how that information could improve suicide prevention efforts, the study authors said.

Asking children directly about suicide will not trigger suicidal thinking or behavior, Bridge said.

"Parents need to be aware of the warning signs of suicide, which include a child making suicidal statements, being unhappy for an extended period, withdrawing from friends or school activities or being increasingly aggressive or irritable," he explained.

"If parents observe these warning signs in their child, they should consider taking the child to see a mental health professional," Bridge advised.

Colon Cancer Increasingly Striking the Young

By EJ Mundell

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The rise in colon cases among younger adults that's been seen in the United States is also occurring in wealthier nations worldwide, new research shows.

In the decade leading up to 2014, the number of cases of colon cancer among people under 50 increased by 3% a year in Denmark, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, and by 1% per year in Britain.

The increase was most pronounced among those aged 20 to 29, noted a team led by Dr. Marzieh Araghi, from International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France.

Among twenty-somethings, colon cancer cases rose by 18% a year in Denmark and 11% in Norway, according to the study published May 16 in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hematology.

"Although the incidence of colorectal cancer in adults younger than 50 years remains much lower compared with that in older age groups, our findings are of concern and highlight the need for action to counteract the rising burden of the disease in younger people," Araghi said in a journal news release.

The increase in cases among the young runs counter to declines in colon cancer among people over 50, the researchers pointed out. For example, between 2004 and 2014 cases of colon cancer fell each year among people over 50 — by 2% in Australia and Canada, 3% in New Zealand, and 1% annually in the U.K.

Colon cancer remains a huge global killer. According to the research team, in 2018 alone nearly 2 million cases of colon cancer were diagnosed and the disease claimed 881,000 lives worldwide.

But why the surge among the young? According to Araghi, the increase is likely driven in part by increases in certain risk factors, specifically obesity and poor diet.

On the other hand, he said, the decrease in colon cancer among people over 50 is most likely due to better screening stool tests or colonoscopy that catches tumors early.

Dr. David Bernstein is chief of hematology and a gastrointestinal specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Reviewing the new report, he said similar data has already changed medical practice in the United States.

Continued

"The U.S, findings have led to updated [American Cancer Society] colon cancer screening guidelines, which now recommend the initiation of colon cancer screening at age 45, as opposed to previous guidelines recommending the initiating of screening at age 50," Bernstein noted.

Early screening and detection could bring colon cancer numbers down again among the young, he said.

Dr. Elena Ivanina is a gastroenterologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She believes younger Americans need to pay more heed to avoiding colon cancer risk factors.

"This includes things like obesity, diet, smoking and other carcinogens," she said. "Patients should discuss their colon cancer risk with their physician and not ignore any symptoms like rectal bleeding, no matter what their age."

In the meantime, Bernstein said, "perhaps the more important question is 'why in high income countries is the incidence of colorectal cancer increasing among young adults, and what factors are leading to this?'" Bernstein said. "Significant work needs to be done to answer this critical question."

LED Blue Light Poses Eye, Sleep Risks: Report

May 17, 2019 — The blue light in LED lighting used in many consumer products may harm your sleep and pose a risk to your eyes, a new report warns.

Specifically, there is new evidence that this type of light can disturb biological and sleep rhythms and damage the eye's retina, according to the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety.

Products with LEDs that produce blue light include the newest flashlights, car headlights and some toys, CNN reported.

The maximum limit on short-term exposure to blue light should be reduced, only low-risk LED devices should be available to consumers, and the luminosity of car headlights should be reduced, the French agency recommended.

It also said that eye protection provided by "anti-blue light" screens, filters and sunglasses varies, and there is no proof that those help preserve sleep rhythms, CNN reported.

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Backyard Chickens

May 17, 2019 — Backyard flocks of live poultry have been linked with salmonella outbreaks that have sickened 52 people in 21 states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

Five people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported. Children younger than 5 account for about one-fourth of the cases of illness.

People who got sick reported getting chicks and ducklings from places such as agricultural stores, websites and hatcheries. People can get sick from salmonella by touching live poultry or their environment. Birds that carry the bacteria can appear healthy and clean, the CDC said.

You should always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in their environment. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not immediately available.

Never let live poultry in your home, the agency said. Have a pair of shoes that you use only when taking care of poultry and keep those shoes outside of your home.

Don't eat or drink where poultry live or roam. Don't kiss backyard poultry, or touch your face or mouth after handling them. Cleaning equipment or materials used to raise or care for poultry, such as cages, or feed or water containers, should be done outdoors.

Children younger than 5, adults over 65 and people with weakened immune systems shouldn't handle or touch chicks, ducklings or other poultry.

Symptoms of salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps.

Diets High in Processed Foods a Recipe for Obesity

By Amy Norton

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Researchers have long believed the obesity epidemic is at least partly related to the proliferation of highly processed foods. Now, new research suggests the connection is real.

In a tightly controlled lab study, scientists found that people ate many more calories — and gained a couple of pounds — when they spent two weeks on a highly processed diet, versus when they ate a diet rich in whole foods.

And it wasn't just explained by the obvious — processed foods packing more sugar and fat.

Both diets were designed to offer the same number of daily calories, and similar amounts of total sugar, fat, carbs and fiber.

Yet, during their two weeks on mostly processed foods, study volunteers chose to eat more — an extra 500 calories per day, on average. They also gained about 2 pounds, whereas they lost that much during their two weeks on the minimally processed diet.

"I was very surprised," said lead researcher Kevin Hall, of the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

"I'd thought we wouldn't see much of an effect of the processed foods, per se, because we'd matched the diets for calories and other components," Hall explained.

So what explains the extra calorie munching? Hall said he could only speculate.

One theory relates to the manner in which people ate: When they were on the heavily processed diet, they ate faster.

Whenever people scarf down their food, Hall explained, that gut has less time to tell the brain it's full — making it easier to overindulge.

He also said that, to provide enough fiber, the processed diet included supplemented beverages. And since liquid may not be as satisfying as solid foods, Hall said, that might have swayed people's overall calorie intake.

Whitney Linsenmeyer is a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She agreed the faster eating rate could be one explanation for the results.

Slower eating is, in fact, a weight-loss strategy, noted Linsenmeyer, who is also a nutrition instructor at Saint Louis University.

Continued

Looking at the diets, she said it's easy to see how the minimally processed one would require more time and chewing effort.

Linsenmeyer pointed to another possible explanation: While the diets had the same amount of total sugar, the processed one had more added sugars.

How did the daily menus differ? Neither diet followed any fad, like low-carb or low-fat or high-protein. The main difference was in the amount of food processing.

A typical processed breakfast included a bowl of sweetened breakfast cereal and a packaged muffin with margarine; or an English muffin with egg, bacon and processed cheese, plus packaged tater tots. Breakfast on the minimally processed diet included Greek yogurt or oatmeal with fresh fruit and nuts; or eggs with hash browns made from fresh potatoes.

Dinner on the processed diet included things like packaged ravioli with processed cheese and white bread; or canned chili with store-bought tortilla chips and salsa. Dinner on the minimally processed menu featured things like beef, whole-grain barley, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Twenty study participants lived in a lab for a month, spending two weeks on each diet. They were allowed to eat as much of the offered food as they wanted; they simply ate more when they were on the processed diet.

Hall noted that there are many popular weight-loss diets that demonize particular nutrients or foods. "But one thing they all have in common is that they limit processed foods," he said.

This study doesn't prove that's why people may lose weight on the diets, Hall stressed. But it's food for thought, he said.

Linsenmeyer emphasized this point: Eating healthfully is not only about nutrients. "It's also about eating food that we cook, not that we allowed food manufacturers to prepare for us."

She and Hall both acknowledged, however, that many people lack the time, money or skills it takes to drop processed foods from their lives.

"Just telling people to eat healthier may not be enough if we don't improve access to healthy foods," Hall said.

The study was published online May 16 in Cell Metabolism.

Former President Jimmy Carter Out of Hospital

By EJ Mundell

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Former President Jimmy Carter has been released from the hospital and is now recovering at home from surgery for a broken hip.

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter also had a health scare yesterday. According to a tweet from the Carter Center, she "felt faint and was admitted overnight to the hospital for observation and testing. She left the hospital with President Carter this morning."

Both Carters were treated at the Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in Americus, Ga.

Carter, 94, was headed out for turkey hunting when he fell earlier this week at his home in Plains, Ga., the Center announced Tuesday.

The Carter Center said the former president had been released from hospital on Thursday "and will continue to recuperate at home. He will undergo physical therapy, as part of his recovery from hip replacement surgery."

Carter "plans to teach Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church this weekend," the Center added.

Carter, who served as president from 1977 to 1981, is the oldest living former U.S. president.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Drucker isn't involved in Carter's care, but he said his chances for an uncomplicated recovery are good.

"President Carter's recovery is very dependent on where the injury occurred," noted Drucker, who directs the Center for Joint Reconstruction at Staten Island University Hospital, in New York City.

But, "even taking his age into effect; he could make a relatively good recovery depending on where the break occurred and if the president has any pre-existing conditions, like osteoporosis or arthritis in the joint," Drucker said.

One point in Carter's favor: "The president enjoys a very active lifestyle," Drucker said.

Still, he "will require physical rehabilitation — the key to success is getting the president up on his feet as soon as possible," Drucker said.

Dr. Robert Glatter is an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He agreed that "it's important that patients receive surgery as soon as medically possible, since the chance for complications including blood clots increases with delay in repair."

"Surgical hardware is used to stabilize the fracture," Glatter explained, and there's "an excellent chance for a safe and speedy recovery."

The broken hip is another health setback for Carter, who has already battled his way back from cancer. In 2015, when he was 90, it was announced that the former president had melanoma that had spread to his brain.

But treatment with the powerful immunotherapy drug Keytruda appears to have cured Carter of the tumor.