Gaining weight during college is a fairly common occurrence. So much so that there is a term for the average weight a freshmen gains called the Freshman 15. Typically a student may put on 15 pounds or more in their first year of college due to less activity involvement or poor eating habits. Although gaining weight isn’t true of every student, a new study has shown that the Freshman 15 pales in comparison to the weight gain students may experience as they progress through college.
A study done at Indiana University has revealed that college students become less active physically and gain more weight as they go into their junior and senior years. One possibility for the lack of physical activity can be related to increased stress and the workload that comes with being an upperclassman.
Another possibility is that those students who succumb to the Freshman 15 continue gaining weight during college because they didn’t master managing their health early on. When students don’t set a habit of getting physical activity, it is difficult to fit it in later.
The study was based on a survey of 1,672 students at Indiana University and asked them questions about their level of physical activity and resting habits along with how much time was spent walking, sitting down and vigorously exercising. During the period between freshman and senior year, the amount of time spent doing physical activity and walking declined while the amount of time spent sitting increased. Another finding was that overall seniors weighed about 18 pounds more than freshmen on average.
One very helpful thing this study does is make people aware. College students that might not otherwise think about it can work to incorporate more exercise into their schedule to combat weight gain. These results also allow colleges to look at what types of programs they offer for students. Freshmen and sophomores are not the only ones needing programs focused on physical activity. Although the findings from this study may not be universal for all colleges or students, it certainly draws attention to growing problem.