Freshman 15: Myth or reality?

It's common for the scale to start showing bigger numbers during your college years.
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Many incoming freshmen have been warned about the “Freshman 15” before going off to college. Is this stigma of college students packing on 15 pounds during their first year a myth or reality?

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 70 percent of adults in America age 20 or older are overweight or obese. After the transition from high school to college, many college freshmen are more independent from their parents. As a result of significant lifestyle changes, many have more leisure to eat unhealthily.

Although weight gain in college is prevalent, studies show students are not as likely to actually gain the “Freshman 15” in their first year. Instead, they gradually gain weight over the course of four years. This is a concern that as they enter their young adult years, they will gradually put on pounds and establish a pattern of weight gain.

“Freshman 15 happens so often because freshmen food options are so limited. I always tell my clients eating right is just as important as exercising,” says fitness trainer Chance James. “But I can’t always blame them when they can only eat what is offered on campus,” he said.

College offers many temptations; you are now on your own and free to eat fast food three times a day if you want. Students battle the need for adaptation. When dealing with stress, a new environment and being homesick, it can cause a person to eat more than usual.

The best way to avoid weight gain is to keep a balanced diet, exercise regularly and be sure to get enough sleep. As a college student, this sounds impossible but adopting some new habits can help you stay healthy and avoid problems later on down the line.

Some tips for healthy eating: avoid stress eating when studying, avoid late-night snacking, keep healthy snacks on hand in your room, keep an eye on your alcohol intake. A few simple changes to your everyday routine can help you steer clear of excess weight while keeping you mentally and physically healthy.