Navigation Links
The 'freshman 15' is just a myth, nationwide study reveals
Date:10/31/2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio Contrary to popular belief, most college students don't gain anywhere near 15 pounds during their freshman year, according to a new nationwide study.

Rather than adding "the freshman 15," as it is commonly called, the average student gains between about 2.5 and 3.5 pounds during the first year of college.

And college has little to do with the weight gain, the study revealed. The typical freshman only gains about a half-pound more than a same-age person who didn't go to college.

"The 'freshman 15' is a media myth," said Jay Zagorsky, co-author of the study and research scientist at Ohio State University's Center for Human Resource Research.

"Most students don't gain large amounts of weight. And it is not college that leads to weight gain it is becoming a young adult."

The results suggest that media reporting of the freshman 15 myth may have serious implications.

"Repeated use of the phrase 'the freshman 15,' even if it is being used just as a catchy, alliterative figure of speech, may contribute to the perception of being overweight, especially among young women," Zagorsky said.

"Weight gain should not be a primary concern for students going off to college."

Zagorsky conducted the study with Patricia Smith of the University of Michigan-Dearborn. The study will appear in the December 2011 issue of the journal Social Science Quarterly.

The study uses data from 7,418 young people from around the country who participated in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997. The NLSY97 interviewed people between the ages of 13 and 17 in 1997 and then interviewed the same people each year since then. The NLSY is conducted by Ohio State's Center for Human Resource Research for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Among many other questions, respondents were asked their weight and college status each year.

Other studies have shown that college students tend to underestimate their weight by half a pound to 3 pounds. But if people are consistent in underestimating their weight from year to year, it would not impact these results, Zagorsky said.

The study found that women gained an average of 2.4 pounds during their freshman year, while men gained an average of 3.4 pounds. No more than 10 percent of college freshman gained 15 pounds or more -- and a quarter of freshman reported actually losing weight during their first year.

"It's worth noting that while there's this focus on weight gain among freshman, we found that one in four actually lost weight," Zagorsky said.

The researchers examined a variety of factors that may be associated with freshman weight gain, including whether they lived in a dormitory, went to school full or part time, pursued a two-year or four-year degree, went to a private or public institution, or was a heavy drinker of alcohol (consuming six or more drinks on at least four days per month.)

None of these factors made a significant difference on weight gain, except for heavy drinking. Even then, those who were heavy drinkers gained less than a pound more than students who did not drink at that level.

Zagorsky said it was particularly significant that dorm living did not add to weight gain, since one hypothesis has been that the dorm environment encourages weight gain during the freshman year.

"There has been concern that access to all-you-can-eat cafeterias and abundant fast food choices, with no parental oversight, may lead to weight gain, but that doesn't seem to hold true for most students," he said.

The results do show, however, that college students do gain weight steadily over their college years.

The typical woman gains between seven and nine pounds, while men gain between 12 and 13 pounds.

"Not only is there not a 'freshman 15,' there doesn't appear to be even a 'college 15' for most students," Zagorsky said.

Over the course of the entire college career, students who both worked and attended college gained an extra one-fifth of a pound for each week they worked.

The researchers also examined what happened to college students' weight after they graduated. They found that in the first four years after college, the typical respondent gained another 1.5 pounds per year.

"College students don't face an elevated risk of obesity because they gain a large amount of weight during their freshman year," Zagorsky said.

"Instead, they have moderate but steady weight gain throughout early adulthood. Anyone who gains 1.5 pounds every year will become obese over time, no matter their initial weight."

Although most students don't need to worry about large weight gains their freshman year, Zagorsky said they still should focus on a healthy lifestyle.

"Students should begin developing the habit of eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. Those habits will help them throughout their lives."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jay Zagorsky
Zagorsky.1@osu.edu
614-442-7332
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Healthy Habits Can Fend Off the Freshman 15
2. Freshman weight gain: Women with heavy roommates gain less
3. Fighting Off the Freshman Fifteen
4. All-over tan is a myth, study finds
5. Katrinas Aftermath: Failed Pregnancies for IVF Moms Nationwide
6. Oral steroids linked to severe vitamin D deficiency in nationwide study
7. Nationwide trends for sepsis in the 21st century
8. Drug-Resistant Staph Bacteria Found in Meat, Poultry Nationwide
9. Nationwide Childrens Hospital accepted to Neonatal Research Network
10. Nationwide utilization of virtual colonoscopy triples, study suggests
11. Hospital Safety Varies Widely Nationwide: Report
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... services to provide one resource, from start to finish, for Life Safety compliance. ... Statement of Condition surveys requested by the Joint Commission, and fire stopping reviews, ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Jericho Project has named LaToya Williams-Belfort to ... be responsible for fundraising and communications for the nationally-acclaimed nonprofit, working closely with CEO ... working to end homelessness at its roots. , “LaToya Williams-Belfort is joining Jericho ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Educational opportunities, and ... with more advantaged communities providing richer opportunities. Recognizing the key role of housing ... improvement policies; (b) school choice policies; (c) school desegregation policies; (d) wealth-focused policies; ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... New Brunswick, New Jersey: This year marks ... reach their fullest potential. To commemorate the anniversary, the hospital has themed the milestone ... Roll for Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation on Saturday, May 21, at Johnson Park in ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... (PRWEB) May 24, ... new members of its Advisory Board. Joining the Grow Healthy ... “All three of them embody the mission of our organization and ... fortunate to have them as we continue to expand our footprint ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2016)... New York , May 23, 2016 ... market report titled, " Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency Market - ... 2013 - 2023 ." According to the report, the ... a CAGR of 8.3% from 2015 to 2023 to ... insufficiency (EPI) is a condition characterized by the deficiency ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Clarifying Vision - ... Monitoring, and Vision Care What can be ... going to grow at the fastest rates? This ... assessing data, trends, opportunities and prospects. ... Discover the most lucrative areas in the industry and ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... Non-invasive diagnostic test realizes the ... ,Technology to be presented at Yissum’s booth, at IATI-BIOMED ... Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced ... Aurum Ventures MKI, the technology investment arm of Morris ... approach for early detection of multiple diseases by analyzing ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: