Freshman 15

Everyone has heard of the “Freshman 15”.  It is the term for weight gain during Freshman year of college.  But what I found interesting about this is that there are many different ways to actually end up at the Freshman 15.  At first I thought that it was simply the overall unhealthy lifestyle of college that will catch up to people.  But in reality there are certain ways in which Freshman students dealing with different things can find themselves in this position at the end of the year.  So what are some of the ways in which this can occur?



Emotional eating can be one of the biggest factors in Freshman gaining weight while they are away at school for the first time.  This is often because they are lonely or homesick and eating is one way that they are able to feel comfortable again.  This is completely understandable because college is a really difficult transition for some people to make and food can help bridge the gap of feeling away from everything you used to know.  This habit can have a snowball effect if one starts finding themselves snacking in their room constantly while they are doing homework.

Another big issue for the Freshman 15 is the fact that for many kids this is the first time that they will go an entire school year without participating in their childhood sports.  This is a huge deal that can lead to a student gaining weight without even changing their diet!  But what has changed is the amount of exercise that they are doing and therefore they are burning off much fewer calories.  This is is why going to the gym on campus or getting outside for some running is  absolutely crucial to fighting off unwanted pounds at college.



The good news is that at Penn State there are multiple high quality gyms that one can workout in if they so desire.  Specifically, most Freshman are located in East Halls which is extremely close to the IM building.  This is a really beneficial perk to have here because the IM building is so nice, it’s not a chore to workout there.  So Penn State is trying to help all of its students stay in shape and feeling positive.

Overall, the Freshman 15 usually isn’t 15 pounds worth of fat put on by students during their first year of college.  Rather, it is just bad habits that result in slight weight gain.  This is important to carefully manage though or else it really could get out of control in a hurry and become extremely unhealthy.


11 thoughts on “Freshman 15

  1. sjb6039

    I am a freshman however I started during the summer semester. In the summer i would eat at the all-you-can-eat dining halls every day and I noticed that I was gaining weight. For the fall semester I have been avoiding all-you-can-eat dining halls and I have now not gained any weight. Eating at the all-you-can-eat dining halls can cause people to eat more because they want a little bit of everything. They end up putting to much on their plate an over eat, thus leading to weight gain. I good way to limit what you eat and decree weight gain is to eat at dining halls where you only get one meal option rather than all-you-can-eats.

  2. Lauren Eve Ribeiro

    I found this article really interesting. I am a sophomore this year and i hope that my sophomore year goes better than my freshman year in regards to the freshman 15. My freshman year i thought that the endless amounts of pokey sticks and DP Dough would never catch up to me because i was now in college and i was invincible, but boy was I wrong. This year I am gonna try to stay on top of my health and stray away from stress eating, and try to hit the gym more.

  3. Cassandra N Kearns

    I found this article very interesting and familiar. As a Sophomore here at Penn State, I dealt with weight gain last year. At first, I assumed the ‘Freshman 15’ was just something that happened to people when they came to college naturally, and there was no stopping it. But after my freshman year, I realized exactly what you stated in your blog. The Freshman 15 is mainly caused by personal choices. I definitely struggled with the transition between home and college, and found myself struggling to make it to the dining hall every night for a nutrient filled dinner. I was then eating Cheez-Its for a meal while studying and doing homework. This horrible habit, accompanied with large amounts of stress and my incredibly lazy self, found the pounds start to creep onto my body. This year, I am much more health conscious as so I can try to avoid the weight gain again while at school.

  4. Caroline Sorrentino

    I definitely can relate to this. I realize I have been feeling more sluggish than I did at home and maybe even gaining weight. I wasn’t sure why though because I eat relatively healthy! Hardly a difference from home. Perhaps it is stress and other factors such as lack of hard core exercise that are causing a change in my body. I live in Pollock and it is very far from the IM building!! Wish I was closer because I’m not a fan of the White Building.

  5. Grace Ellen Leibow

    I found this post to be very well organized, and informative. Another potential factor into the freshman 15 that I have been told is alcohol. A large number of freshmen find that, with newfound freedom and personal responsibility, they have access to a lot more opportunities to drink. Alcohol consumption, however, can be very detrimental to a person’s health, and not just for its effect on the liver. Often, alcohol causes weight gain, a phenomenon that is really well explained in this article by Elle magazine online: I found it really informative, so if you’re interested, definitely give it a read through to understand why this occurs.

  6. rbl5123

    I’m a current sophomore and I can definitely say I put on more then 15 pounds my freshman year. Now, understandably, I was underweight when I came to college so I definitely need some of them. I’m not an emotional eater, in fact, when I’m stressed I eat less then normal, what affected it for me was when I ate. Not having a regular schedule really threw me off. I still haven’t lost all the weight I gained and I’m coming to terms with the fact that I may not before I leave college.

  7. jtc5474

    Sup Kyle, this topic is very interesting because i was wondering if i would get “the freshman fifteen” at Penn state too. So far, to me, most people at Penn state are in good shape due to the high amount of opportunities to exercise and workout. Even if you don’t like working out everyday, just simply walking to class everywhere can be a great start to not gain the freshman 15 since our campus is so large. I find myself walking 10+ miles everyday from walking to different classes, building and to frat row. Walking itself is a great exercise on its own, but eating healthy can’t hurt. Great job!
    Heres an article on how walking can help keep you healthy:

    1. dwd5373

      I am a current freshman and definitely worrying about the freshman 15. Before I came here I said to myself I would eat healthy and go to the gym everyday. After being here a month I realized it is easier said then done. I wish Penn State offered more healthy food but I agree they do provide us students with phenomenal workout complexes. The IM building is great to workout in, what are some of your favorite workouts?

      1. Lydia A Chelli

        I agree that we should have more healthy food in the dining halls. There are healthy options, but the options are very limited, leaving me mostly to a hamburger. If there were more healthy options here in the dining halls, more students would eat healthier, which would increase the overall health and wellbeing of the student body. Although we walk so much everyday, that does not compensate for the lack of healthy options in the dining halls.

        1. cmt5586

          Hey, that’s not fair for those working in the dining halls. We have to mass-produce foods for hundreds of non-stop hordes of starving college students, and make food most of them will eat as well, and keep costs down. Healthy food is expensive and takes longer to make than throwing burgers on a grill while cooking chicken, fries, asparagus, and keeping everything stocked up. There are always healthy side options and a salad bar, but its not on us to make you eat that. As the year goes on, people realize that they should eat less and just take less food, just in the beginning of the year everyone wants to try everything.

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