Photo: By matthileo on Flickr
A new study from Ohio State University confirms that the “Freshman 15” — an age-old term used to described the amount of weight college students gain during their first of college — is a media myth.A study of 7,418 young people found that college students gained an average of 2 to 3 pounds during their freshman year. What’s more, a quarter of students actually reported losing weight during their first year.
According to Jay Zagorsky, co-author of the study, “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.”
This contradicts the long-held hypothesis that college dorm-life, including lack of parental supervision, abundant food choices, and heavy drinking, causes first-years to pack on the pounds.
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 also points out that repeated use of the phrase “Freshman 15” can have an especially damaging effect on young women by contributing to the perception that they are overweight.
( h/t @HarrietBrown)
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