Every year, thousands of students go off to college to expand their minds and end up expanding their pants in the process. The “freshman 15,” the phenomenon of gaining weight during the first year of college, seems about as unavoidable as sleeping through your alarm or waiting until the last minute to write a paper on the existential meaning of Waiting for Godot. Thanks to the combination of all-you-can-eat dining halls, late-night takeout, beer, stress, more beer, and lack of physical activity, many students gain flab right along with knowledge.
But while most students do gain weight during their freshman year, it’s thankfully less than the freshman 15. A study of freshman at Indiana University in Bloomington and Tufts University in Boston found that on average, female students gained a little over seven pounds, while male students gained about nine. But the fact that the freshman 15 is more like the freshman 10, doesn’t mean that students and parents shouldn’t be concerned about the extra weight gain.
Students tend to continue gaining weight well past their freshman year. By the end of their senior years, women had gained an average of ten pounds, while men had put on fourteen pounds. And not surprisingly, obesity rates are fastest growing among 18-29 year olds. Avoiding weight gain during the first year of college by establishing healthy eating and exercising habits is an important step to becoming a healthy adult. So here are some tips to help you avoid growing out of your sweatpants during your freshman year of college.