Back-to-school special: The Freshman 15 is myth

Do college students put on an average of 15 pounds during freshman year?  That’s the conventional wisdom, but studies have found there is no such thing as the so-called Freshman 15. The days of school cafeterias serving only unhealthy food are over. For example, over at BU, students have Image“Sargent Choice,” The food plan was designed by nutritionists at the school’s Sargent College.

Our goal is to positively influence the food preferences and therefore health of an entire community by offering these attractive, varied, convenient and nutritious food options.

Here, Web MD says:

Typical weight gain, studies show, is 4-10 pounds during the first year of college. Here are the results of several studies that looked at weight gain among college freshmen:

  • A study at Auburn University found that only 5% of freshmen gained 15 pounds their first year.
  • A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association suggested that the average female freshman gains 5 pounds in her first year.
  • A study from Utah State University found that 25% of freshmen (both men and women) gained an average of 10 pounds during the first semester.
  • Rutgers University study found that 75% of study subjects gained weight — an average of 7 pounds, from eating approximately 112 extra calories per day.
  • Freshmen gained an average of 4.2 pounds during the first 12 weeks of school, according to a Cornell University study.

 Here are a few more

Weight-gain misperceptions and the third-person effect in Black and White college-bound females: Potential implications for healthy weight management.

Another Utah state study foundan average weight gain of 2.7 lbs. About half of the students gained weight, and 15% lost weight. Men gained more weight than did women.


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