The Freshmen 15: Fact or Fiction?

Entering college begins a new chapter in a teenager’s life. It is possibly the first time that they are truly on their own, without the supervision of their parents, or guardians. With all this newfound freedom, it is hard to remember responsibilities, including physical health. So, I was not surprised of the many warnings I received about the infamous “Freshmen Fifteen”. As people told be horror stories about college students gaining unthinkable amounts of weight by Thanksgiving, I though how true can this really be? Researchers from Ohio State, wondered the same thing, and conducted a nationwide survey.

The survey was composed of questions inquiring about the yearly weight gain of college students. Around seven thousand college students’ responses were recorded. The outcome of the survey came as a shock to Jay Zagorsky, and his team at Ohio State, who thought for sure that they would find extreme weight gain over the course of the average student’s college career, more specifically in their freshmen years. Instead they found quite different results. It was discovered that, on average, women gain about three pounds their freshmen years,and men gained around three and a half. Over four years, it was found that students rarely gain close to fifteen pounds. The most surprising evidence found by Zagorsky was that only about ten percent of students will actually gain fifteen pounds or more, while twenty five percent of students actually lose weight their freshmen year. They also found that excessive drinking only effected students’ weight gain by about an additional pound.

As a freshmen in college, I can honestly say I was a little freaked out about the freshmen fifteen coming into school. With insane rumors flying around about people gaining weight, it’s hard not to be, but once school started my outlook change. I think the freshmen fifteen certainly is possible when you’re eating grease saturated foods, drinking every night of the week, and consuming mindless calories. It easy to push healthy eating aside when unhealthy options are extremely accessible. On the other hand though, it is totally avoidable by eating healthy, being mindful of what, and when you are eating, and by getting in some sort of physical activity daily. I  feel as though it is important to stop referring to the “freshmen fifteen” as a definitive element of one’s freshmen year, because statistic imply that it very well does not have to be.




3 thoughts on “The Freshmen 15: Fact or Fiction?

  1. Yixiao Jiang

    I strongly agree with your idea, because I gained a lot of weight when I was preparing to apply for college. Through most of time, I was just sitting on my chair and write essays or doing homework. And since I got information from Freshman 15, I decided to make an exercise plan for my college year to keep my body weight.

  2. Imaani Allen

    Your blog really shed light on this lie that they tell college students very year. I knew that students gain a few pounds because of the easy access to fast food. Gaining fifteen pounds though is kind of hard to believe you would have to eat french fries and hamburgers everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They just say this myth to scare incoming freshmen . Healthy eating is still very important for all of us students here is a pdf of all the different types of snacks for people always on the go.

Leave a Reply