For years, the ‘freshman 15’ has been referenced in popular culture, as it has been widely believed that college students pack on the pounds during their first year. A recent study has shown that while there is some common weight gain among new kids on campus, its a bit less than we previously thought.
Jay Zagorsky, research scientist for Ohio State University, was curious to learn how true the ‘freshman 15’ idea really was. His study on college weight gain found the average increase to be between 2.4 pounds for women and 3.4 pounds for men during the first year. Only 10 percent of the men and women who participated gained 15 or more pounds and 25 percent of students studied actually lost weight as freshmen.
The study found that college students do gain weight throughout their time in school, with women averaging increases of 7 to 9 pounds and men picking up 12 to 13 pounds during their college years.
Zagorsky tells Reuters “it is not college that leads to weight gain – it is becoming a young adult.” College freshmen, according to the study, only gained about a 1/2 pound more than people their age who didn’t go to school.
Factors believed to impact freshman weight gain were considered, such as living in a dorm, going to school full or part-time, working towards a 2 or 4-year degree and alcohol consumption, the latter of which was the only one proven to have an impact on student weight.
I’m pretty sure I was part of the group that did put on 15 pounds or more, as I graduated weighing about 30-40 pounds heavier than I was in high school. I am the 10 percent. I had to #occupythegym post-graduation to shake the damage that my time on campus had caused!
Did you gain weight during your freshman year? If so, how much?
I’m not even sure how much I gained – I just know that alongside the abundant junk foods available at the dining halls (pizza, chicken strips, french fries and of course healthy options that I never picked up) were the midterm/final cram foods.. I blame my weight gain on Costco-packs of microwaveable philly cheese steaks, no mercy. Though, a bit of mindfulness would have probably fought the weight..