Written by Jessie Gorges
With obesity becoming increasingly prevalent, it’s no surprise that college students are leading inactive lifestyles. But what’s surprising is that the “Freshman 15” no longer applies to freshmen.
Students are more likely to gain weight their sophomore, junior and senior years. A recent study shows that college students become increasingly more sedentary within their last years of higher education.
“Basically, students came out of college significantly less active and heavier compared to the start of their freshman year,” Jeanne Johnston said. “But it is a gradual process.”
Johnston, in addition to being one of the study’s authors, is the assistant professor in Indiana University‘s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.
She and her associates surveyed 1,672 full-time undergrads about their physical activity and found that freshman students walked more than senior students. While freshmen walked an average of 684 minutes a week, seniors only walked 436 minutes a week. She said that one contributor could be that as students got older, they were more inclined to take the bus.
The study also found that, on average, freshman did four more hours of physical activity a week than seniors. Additionally, freshman, on average, weighed 18 pounds less than seniors.
Johnston said that college is a tough transitioning period for students, and that could be contributing to the weight gain.
“It is the first time students are responsible for leading a healthy lifestyle,” she said in a Business Week article. “It is the first time they have to manage their time and make time to exercise. It is a critical point in their lives, and colleges and universities can help influence them to make healthy choices by providing them with different programs and choices.”