For many years, parents, teachers and the media have warned college freshman to watch what they eat and their level of activity when going off to college to avoid gaining the dreaded “Freshman 15.” That is still good advice, but now a new study conducted on over 7,000 students shows that most college students only gain 2.5 to 3.5 pounds during their freshman year and that this weight gain is typical for all young adults and not exclusive to college freshmen.
The study, co-authored by Jay Zagorsky, a research scientist at Ohio State University’s Center for Human Resource Research, also revealed that the only factor that made a significant difference between students’ weight gain and non-collegiate peers’ weight gain was heavy drinking. However, those students that drank heavily still only gained less than a pound more than non-student peers who didn’t drink as much. The average student doesn’t even gain a total of 15 pounds by the time they reach graduation. The typical woman gains between seven and nine pounds, while men gain between 12 and 13 pounds over their college career.
Although this study shows that the “Freshman 15” may not be as prevalent as once thought, there are ways that students can avoid even the 2.5 to 3.5 pound weight gain their freshman year. Leading a healthy lifestyle that includes eating nutritious foods, signing up for intramurals, exercising and avoiding late night eating can certainly help you avoid gaining weight during your time in college. Exercising can be as simple as doing a dorm fitness routine that includes jumping jacks, squats, push-ups and other moves that don’t require a lot of space. Don’t let limited space or time crunches hold you back. Fitting in activity and healthy food while you’re in college can make a big difference in your health, and keep you focused in the classroom as well.