The Journal of the American Dietetic Association looked at how male and female college students’ weight changed during their first semester in college.
A whopping 62% of the 379 subjects gained at least 5 pounds over the course of their first semester, with most subjects gaining more. This makes the old adage of the ‘freshman fifteen’ apply to more than half of all college students.
The group that gained the most? Surprisingly, the largest weight increases were most prevalent in males who had a normal weight and BMI before they entered the study.
When asked what the most difficult part of preventing the weight gain was, the students told researchers it was tought to start and maintain healthful eating patterns. With adjusting to a new living situation, and apart from the structure of family meals and a schedule, it’s no surprise that students find healthy eating challenging.
Most of the students were not too concerned about what can happen to them over the long term with weight gains like this. But research shows that even just a 9-pound weight gain or loss can profoundly influence health risks later on in life.
The study concluded that peer-led classes offering strategies on healthful living and managing the transition to college life would be very helpful for students aiming to create lifelong healthy habits, and students agreed.
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