Healthy You: Freshman 15 myth debunked
While not all students are worrying about the college lifestyle quite yet, a recent college myth has been debunked by a new study. The “Freshman 15,” college freshmen gaining 15 pounds as they adjust to college life, has now been proven untrue.
The study was conducted by Ohio State’s Center for Human Resource Research from 1997 to 2011. It used data from 7,418 young people ages 13 to 17 from around the U.S..
The study found that the average weight gain was nowhere near 15 pounds in the first year of college. Instead, the average weight gain was only between 2.5 and 3.5 pounds.
According to the author of the study, Jay Zagorsky, a research scientist at Ohio State University’s Center for Human Resource, the freshman 15 is a “media myth.” In addition, any weight gain that does occur doesn’t have much relation to being at college, but rather becoming a young adult.
Female students on average gained about 2.4 pounds during their freshman year whereas males gained about 3.4 pounds. Fewer than 10 percent of students gained 15 pounds or more, and 25 percent of those interviewed reported losing weight their freshman year in college, according to Medical News Today.
While the new study shows that most college freshman don’t gain 15 pounds, most steadily increase their weight every year by an estimated 1.5 pounds. If nothing is done to prevent this increase, especially during early adulthood, anyone can become obese over time.
Early adulthood is a time during which healthy lifestyles are formed without the influence of parents. High school students should begin paying attention to their eating and exercise habits early on to prevent unhealthy weight gain later in life.
Join a gym or fitness class while sports are not in season to open yourself up to new exercise options. Learn more about healthy eating by paying attention to the nutritional food information listed on most packaged foods.
Try new health foods now so that later on in college, you’ll know more about what foods are healthier in a college cafeteria. And, of course, weigh yourself frequently to know what your healthy weight is to know when it’s time to start eating better and exercising more.
Now is the time for students to being forming a healthy lifestyle for themselves to prevent unhealthy weight gain during college and beyond.
Stephanie Meadowcroft is a Lifestyles editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.