Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Freshman 15 - Truth or Myth?

When I mentioned the 'Freshman 15' to Cory, he thought I was joking or maybe just trying to scare him.  It's something we've all heard - it's kind of expected that the typical college freshman will gain 15 pounds.  Come to think of it, that is pretty scary!

A study by Marquette professor Dr. Olga Yakusheva who has a PhD and is a health and labor economist, states that the freshman 15 really is a myth, or an exaggeration.  Dr. Yakusheva found the so-called freshman 15 really ends up being between 2 to 6 pounds, with women gaining an average of 1 to 4 pounds, and men gaining between 2 and 7 pounds. (wisn.com)

If college students aren't careful, though, they can end up gaining those 15 pounds over the course of their college careers.  I definitely don't think it justifies the use of weight loss pills among college students. The study went on to show that students who had a dining hall in their dorms gained more weight than students who didn't.  I'm not really sure why - maybe because those who had to go a bit further to find a dining hall also got more exercise actually getting there.  Or maybe because it wasn't as convenient, they put more thought into when and what they ate, instead of just eating because it was convenient.

We only had one dining hall where I went to college, and it wasn't in any of our dorms.  We had to walk to get there and walk uphill to get to most of our classes - and I still ended up gaining quite a bit of weight my freshman year.  I don't know that it was any 'Freshman 15' but it was enough to make me say "Enough is Enough!"  I took one look at myself in the picture of me and my date at Grad Ball, and I decided something must be done.  I didn't go looking for the best weight loss pills, I watched what I ate all summer, and I exercised.  A lot.  I swam laps practically every afternoon, and I played basketball for a couple hours every evening - and since I couldn't eat much before playing all that basketball, dinner usually ended up being watermelon and iced tea.  By the end of the summer, I'd achieved enough weight loss to get back into my jeans - and I paid closer attention to what I ate, how much exercise I got, and how my clothes fit after that.

The Freshman 15 may be a myth, but it's still important for college freshmen (and sophomores, juniors, and seniors, too) to be aware of what and how much they eat and how much exercise they are getting, and avoid letting those 2 to 7 pounds continue to add up each year.


  1. My daughter, Whitney has almost completed this semester and I think she has gained a little. I will have her to read this blog. However, I believe the pounds she did earn was worth the stress she has encountered this semester. First it was roommate, and suitemates problems and then a difficult subject she could not mastered and finding out her own weaknesses. So physical exercise was off the chart or difficult to maintain. But what I give honor to her is she put her faith first. She exercised her spiritual Christian faith. She decided to go Feast of Tabernacles in the beginning of her college life. Then the enemy challenged her in college life. In all of this she used her tools and armorer of faith to get through the difficulties. So, she gained a few physical pounds and got grounded in her faith but I hope next semester she find a way to return to her physical exercise regiment in her busy, challenging schedule.

  2. Interesting. I wonder if the weight gain is due to the sedentary lifestyle of study, or drinking vast amounts of beer on the weekends?


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