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Fabled 'Freshman 15' pound gain more often only 5, report researchers
Date:4/6/2008

ined weight: an average of 2.1 pounds. Only 21 percent of students gained 5 pounds or more.

Among those who gained weight, the average was 4.1 pounds. Males gained an average of 4.8 pounds and females an average of 3.7 pounds their first semester at college. Seven students (3.3 percent) gained 10 pounds or more, but only one student gained at least 15 pound, a female who gained 16.2 pounds.

It does happen, says Dr. Gropper, even if not very often. She and her colleagues are following the 240 students throughout their freshman and beginning of their sophomore years, with questionnaires that examine factors that might contribute to the gain, however small, that the majority of college freshman appear to experience. The researchers also are collecting data on weight changes throughout the year, including five, 10, even 15+ pound losses within the first year of school.

Unique to this study, says Dr. Gropper, is the partnership with colleagues from Auburn Universitys Department of Consumer Affairs who use a 3-D whole body scanner to collect information on body size and shape. This technology quickly captures exact body measurements, which can be visually displayed in cross sections of body areas like the bust, waist and hips to show where changes occur in measurements over time. Understanding where weight is deposited on the body helps assess the potential risk of diseases such as heart disease and metabolic syndrome.


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Contact: Sylvia Wrobel
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Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Source:Eurekalert

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