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College is an exciting time for young people. They have new-found independence, high hope, and high expectations. Unfortunately, there is the possibility of weight gain. There is now new research that disproves this common myth of the ‘freshman fifteen”.
It’s true: the ‘freshman fifteen’ is fiction! The old adage that you will gain fifteen pounds during your first year of college is a myth. Most students only gain from two to four pounds says Jay Zagorsky, a researcher with Ohio State University’s Center for Human Resource Research.

His study, published in the Social Science Quarterly journal unearthed that no more than 10 percent of college freshman gain fifteen or more pounds and around 25% of freshmen reported a weight loss, not gain, during their first year. These scientists convey that college has little to do with the weight gain – it’s the fact that they are becoming a young adult.

Yes, the weight gain is from the evolution the teen encounters when going from one life stage to another. A scholarly lifestyle requires less physical activity and more sedentary lifestyle practices than a teenage lifestyle. When Zagorsky and associates conducted the study, they evaluated approximately 7,400 students around the country and surveyed these people by interview. Among the questions asked, respondents were quizzed about their weight and college status each year.

“It’s worth noting that while there’s this focus on weight gain among freshmen, we found that one in four actually lost weight,” Zagorsky relays to WebMD. Some of the factors they evaluated included whether the students lived in dormitory housing, if they went to school full or part time, who pursued a two-year degree and who was going for a four-year degree, who went to a private institution and who chose a public one, and who was a heavy drinker of alcohol. Apparently, none of these factors made a noteworthy difference on weight gain, with the exception of the alcohol consumption. Apparently, drinking alcohol is one of the reasons many people gain weight, collegiate or not.


Zagorsky further explained that it was of particular significance that the dormitory lifestyle did not make freshmen gain weight, as once alleged. It has been assumed that the dorm environment encourages weight gain during the freshman year. What was found in this study was that young adults who are college students do gain weight steadily over the course of their college careers, as does others who don’t attend college but go from a teen to an adult. For most young women, the gain is between seven and nine pounds, while young men gain around twelve pounds.

Also, the researchers inspected what happened to these college students after graduation. It was uncovered that each scholar gained around 1.5 pounds per year during the first four years after college. Zagorsky told WebMD that, "College students don't face an elevated risk of obesity because they gain a large amount of weight during their freshman year”.
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