Most college students are aware of the “freshman 15,” or the weight that new college students put on in their first months on campus. Many people argue that gaining the 15 pounds is inevitable for freshmen, due to their adjustment to college, the fast food options on campus, late night snacking and lack of exercise. Hectic class schedules cause students of all ages to neglect the gym and grab the most convenient food they can get their hands on, which is usually fast food. It can be difficult for college students to maintain their normal weight if there are barely any healthy eating options around campus.
For many students, hanging out with friends typically includes meeting up to eat somewhere on campus, whether it be for breakfast, brunch, coffee, lunch, dinner or dessert. According to WeightLossMasterpiece, socializing is one of the prominent reasons college students eat when they are not hungry, which can easily lead to weight gain.
Is gaining weight in college inevitable? If so, should the weight gain be expected and accepted? Students at Radford University were asked their opinion on freshman weight gain. All those polled believe that gaining weight is something that can be avoided depending on how one chooses to eat and work out. However, each of them mentioned campus food selection in relation to possible weight gain.
“I think that nowadays students are given more options to be healthy,” said freshmen Chrystal Quimby. “Students are able to choose sandwiches, wraps, salads, soup, veggies, fruit and baked potatoes at various food places around campus. I think that weight gain in college all comes down to personal choices about food and eating habits.”
As far as the freshman 15 goes, many studies show that a 15-pound increase is exaggerated. When looking at different colleges around the country, studies have shown that although freshmen may gain weight when entering college, it’s more within the 5-pound range for most students.
There are a few easy strategies that can help you avoid the freshman 15, like limiting weekly intake of certain restaurants on campus like Papa John’s and Chik-Fil-A. Also, fitting gym time into your schedule each week would be a great way to burn some calories and stay in shape. The American Heart Association recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 times a week in order to maintain a healthy body mass index. Drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day and getting enough sleep are also key factors in maintaining a healthy weight.