Does the Freshmen 15 Exist at Penn State?

It has been almost a month since we parted ways with the life we knew and came to Penn State to begin our first year of college. One of the things that made me nervous about college to begin with was the concept of the freshmen 15. I have heard about it from my friends, family, social media, online articles, and even a food account on Instagram named the Freshmen15. For those who do not know what the freshmen 15 is, it is a commonly used expression amongst college students that refers to gaining fifteen pounds throughout the course of freshmen year. There are even schools that I know of that have their own sayings. For example, at the University of Missouri-Columbia they dub it as the Mizzou 22. If that doesn’t sound frightening, I don’t know what does. Then again, according to U.S. News Colleges, our campus is exactly 8,566 acres large.  I can personally attest to the fact that it takes about twenty-five to thirty minutes walking to go from East Residence Halls to the other side of campus. In addition, the health application on my iPhone 6s has recorded that I have walked double the amount of steps in comparison to my daily routine back at home. With all of the walking to do on campus, is the freshman 15 even possible at Penn State? Let’s consider this: we are now in control of what we put into our systems. We choose what foods to eat, how often we eat, and also whether or not to consume alcohol which adds to the weight gain. All of these factors help to determine what each individual’s outcome will be and correlate with one another. According to a recent study  conducted by The Ohio State University, it has been proven that even though students do gain weight, it is of a less significant amount of anywhere between three to five additional pounds. This same study also found that a quarter of the students that participated in the study actually lost weight during their first year. In my opinion, I would only expect this to be largely true for students that attend a college/university with a large campus. The larger the campus, the more exercise is incorporated into your daily routine. According to Jane Jakubczak, a registered dietician at the University of Maryland in College Park, gaining weight is a part of developing into a full grown adult. This means that over the course of our four years of college, we are bound to gain some weight throughout that time period. This leads me to the conclusion that the freshmen 15 is ultimately what you make of it.  On that note, the lifestyle you choose to lead will decide whether or not the freshmen 15 exists for you at Penn State.



6 thoughts on “Does the Freshmen 15 Exist at Penn State?

  1. Nicole B Sherman

    I think that your take on the freshman 15 is definitely unique. It has always worried me, just as how you said, that coming to college would lead to a significant amount of weight gain. That’s partially why I made the decision to purchase a gym membership. What I found really interesting about your article though, is that, according to the study you referenced, done by The Ohio State University, students only tend to gain a few pounds, rather than the full on fifteen. This makes me think that it can be mostly due to the fact that, as you mentioned, we are now on our own to decide what to eat as well as when; for instance, breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, and many claim that not eating breakfast, which let’s be honest, a lot of us don’t, can lead to weight gain. This makes me wonder what types of factors specifically lead to the small amount of weight gain, and whether or not the extra weight is indeed healthy weight which we can attribute to growing up, as you also mentioned. One thing I will say though, is that I can truly relate to the fact that, just like you, I seem to be doing a crazy amount of walking since I have arrived; it truly makes me wonder how it is possible to even gain weight when one has to walk thirty minutes to class and back each day.

  2. Natalie Elizabeth Burns

    I think this was a great topic to choose to write about because I know that I am terrified of gaining the Freshman 15. However, as you pointed out, the walking and how big our campus is, it seems impossible to gain the weight. Maybe it is just with big schools where students gain less or even lose weight. I think it’d also be interesting to look at which schools are most affected by the Freshman 15 and when finding out those schools, looking at their food options and modes of transportation. I feel like if you looked at this, we could decrease the amount of people who gain the Freshman 15 by offering better food options and decreasing the frequency of the transportation; this way it forces students to have to get out and about.

  3. Connor Edward Opalisky

    The freshman 15 was something that I have seen a lot of people fall victim to. Too many of my brothers friends, male or female, have come home with a few extra pounds. However, I have found that everyone I know personally has actually lost weight. I myself have definitely shed a few pounds and i think that there are a few reasons. The walking definitely burns a lot of fat, which is obvious. I also find myself skipping meals such as breakfast and lunch whenever I have a busy day or just take a nap. Another reason is that a lot of people have stopped going to the gym. I do think this causes a loss of muscle thus a decrease in weight. Here is an article describing the negative effects that skipping a meal can have on an average person

  4. Brandon Ross Armitt

    Coming into college, every single freshman all fear one thing, you might think its the workload, but rather the Freshman 15. For me I personally its easier to stay the same weight or even lose some as it is to gain the infamous 15. Most people think that walking around Penn State alone is going to be enough to fight of the additional wait. But thats not the case at all because we are given the freedom to eat and spend our money on whatever we want without our parents hovering over us to tell us otherwise. For some people this might be a good thing but others it might be bad. It can be so easy to not worry about gaining the weight if everyone takes advantage of the exercising options multiple times a week. Penn State offers many gyms and workout classes where anyone can take, helping get rid of the myth that the freshman 15 occurs here.

  5. Alyssa Marie Frey

    I have been thinking about this since I got here. How could we possibly gain the “freshman 15” when we have to walk so far every single? I too walk more here than I ever did at home where we were used to going to a class that was a couple feet away, or maybe to the other side of the building. Everyone says the freshman 15 is real, but there are so many other factors that contribute to weight gain when we are in college. Our bodies are still growing, which doesn’t mean college causes this weight gain. I found this interesting study where the researchers found some conclusive information, however concluded that most freshman do not actually gain 15 pounds but much less than that.

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