The “freshman 15”: easy to gain but tough to get rid of. It’s the phrase that no college freshman ever wants to hear — especially women, says a study. Comparing women’s and men’s attitudes about eating, depression, and body dissatisfaction after gaining weight in college, researchers found that women are much more affected mentally, according to Health.
Following incoming freshman through four years, researchers tracked their weights as well as how their attitudes changed as their weights did.
“As women gained weight, their eating attitudes worsened and body dissatisfaction rose,” says Laura Girz, a University of Toronto graduate student and lead author of the study.
Men who gained weight maintained the same attitudes about eating and well-being as men who didn’t gain weight. Heidi Wengreen, associate professor of nutrition, dietetics and nutritional sciences at Utah State University who was not involved in the study, says it’s not surprising because many men in college want to gain muscle mass and so are not too concerned.