Vitality

'Freshman 15' Myth: College Students Actually Gain 10 Pounds Steadily Over 4 Years

About to start college? Don’t worry, the “freshman 15” is a myth, but that doesn’t mean you won’t gain any weight while earning your degree.

A new study from researchers at the University of Vermont found that college students gained an average of 10 pounds during their college careers instead of gaining it all at the beginning, according to a news release, and researchers call that weight gain "concerning," because of the additional health risks associated with a higher body mass index. 

Read: The Freshman 15: 5 Strategies For Preventing Weight Gain During Your First Year Of College

To reach these findings, the team measured student weight and body mass index ( BMI ) at the beginning and end of their first and second semesters, and then again at the conclusion of their senior year. The number of students studied, their genders and ages were not disclosed.

graduation Students gain an average of 10 pounds in college, but not necessarily during their freshman year. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

At the beginning of their college careers, participants weighed an average of about 147 pounds and by the end of senior year, the average student weight had increased to about 157 pounds. According to the study, this extra weight means an increased health risk. At the start of college, 23 percent of the students in the study were overweight or obese, but by the end of senior year, this number increased to 41 percent of students, which is a 78 percent increase, the release noted.

Read: The Downside Of A College Education: Higher Learning Associated With Increased Risk Of Glioma Brain Tumor

"This study and earlier ones suggest that college students are prone to weight gain that can impact their health in the present and even more significantly in the future," said the study's lead author, Lizzy Pope, according to the news release. "An important element of any strategy to stem the obesity epidemic would be to target this population with behavioral interventions over all four years of their college experience."

Pope added that obese young people are still at risk for certain health problems, including diabetes, hypertension and polycystic ovarian syndrome, known as PCOS. 

Source: Pope L, Hansen D, Harvey J. Examining the Weight Trajectory of College Students. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 2016.

Read Also:

College Students’ Alcohol Consumption Changes Throughout The Year: The Peaks Of Binge Drinking

'Freshman 15' may be oversold: analysis

Loading...