Avoiding the Dreaded Freshman Fifteen


Rumor is that most freshmen in college will gain the dreaded"freshmen fifteen" - a weight gain that is usually associated with your first year at a college or university. The truth is, it is difficult ...

Print Email

Rumor is that most freshmen in college will gain the dreaded “freshmen fifteen” - a weight gain that is usually associated with your first year at a college or university.  The truth is, it is difficult to stay in the same dietary and exercise routine as you did in high school.  Young adult balance is hard to maintain with an over abundance of added responsibilities and kudos to those who can maintain their own homeostasis.

                  There are a few causes of the “freshman fifteen” such as lack of exercise, eating late at night, nibbling on unhealthy snacks that are at hand, eating unhealthy cafeteria food, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Erratic eating habits and poor diet are going to have a major effect on your body, and the new level of freedoms presented to College Freshman is not always greeted with the wisest of choices.  Many college students don’t gain the full freshman fifteen, however it is said that it’s more probable for students to gain six to nine pounds.  According to studies conducted at Indiana University in Bloomington, and Tufts University in Boston, 60% of students surveyed said that they experienced weight gain their first year of college.  The study surveyed a total of 421 students; 272 females and 149 males.  Generally, males packed on almost nine pounds their first year and the females surveyed gained about seven and a half.  Between their freshmen and senior year 67% of the females gained weight, an average of ten pounds and the males were at 86% gaining an average of 14 pounds.  Added stress can mean packing on those pounds with junk food – 76% of females and 33% of males surveyed admitted to eating more when they were under stress.

                  Despite the fact that consuming alcohol under the age of 21 is prohibited, drinking is common among college students, even those who are not yet of-age. Legal participants and those under the age limit are taking up the bad habit of drinking.  Most who are in college partake in college parties, frat parties, house parties and go out to bars and clubs to have a good time.  Some get overwhelmed with their work load and find them selves indulging in alcohol to get away from their studies, though this is not their only option to have fun, many see no other escape or gratification.  Beer packs on most of the calories - for a 12 ounce traditional beer the count usually between 100-175 calories.  Indiana researchers found that students were drinking more often and exercising less.  Males reported drinking almost two to four more times the amount of alcohol they consumed while still in high school.  Female students double or tripled their alcohol intake as compared to their consumption before entering college.  Both men and women reported a decline in exercise, four times a week has gone to two to three nights a week.

                  The beginning of college should mark a transitional state for young people.  Some students make these changes smoothly and can assimilate, keep their routines while taking on bigger burdens and more responsibilities, however not everyone is able to keep up with the pace.  Sometimes it is hard to eat healthy with a busy schedule, work out, and refrain from eating late or having snacks to munch on throughout the day – especially when presented with more freedoms and responsibilities.  Students not only gain weight during their transition into the adult world, they sometimes lose weight - although this is not as common.  College students are constantly on the go which makes it difficult to avoid the freshman fifteen.  Poor diets and weight gain usually occur while transitioning into college because of a decrease in physical activities and exercise,  less parental supervision, an increased consumption of alcohol, a hectic schedule allows little opportunity to grab something healthy to eat, and quite often longer nights of studying which means midnight snacks and packing on those pounds. 

                  The freshman fifteen may sound inevitable when transitioning into college for the average student; however the challenge is to stay fit and eat healthy while maintaining a busy schedule, tasks that come easier to some than others.  When it comes to physical activity, one can opt for getting a gym membership or opt to walk more often. Or, you can simply watch your food intake if you don’t have the time to physically burn off the excess calorie intake.  Instead of snacking on unhealthy junk food, keep fruits or healthy snacks around like trail mix, nutritional bars, and yogurt – this can help curb adding extra calories to your diet when you have that urge to eat something late at night.  When you’re out clubbing or partying, cut down on the alcohol or just put that beer down, you need not be intoxicated to have a good time.  If you must eat on the go, try to order the healthiest option on the menu – a salad, grilled food, and avoid fried food when you eat out.  It is up to the individual to either fight against the freshman fifteen and develop positive habits early on since the so-called “freshman fifteen” is a challenge throughout your college career, not only a battle during your freshman year. 

                  Everyone is affected differently by the life-altering adjustment of going to college, and you just find what works best for you.  I find for myself eating healthier snacks and having small meals throughout the day helps prevent me from gaining the possible weight of the freshman fifteen.  It is self control and being able to be conscious of what you eat, knowing your own body and what works best for you.  Will you be a part of the “freshman fifteen” phenomenon, or will you have the extra will power to fight the calories?


This Article was Written by Evelyn Ortiz.

The views and opinions expressed on this web site are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Long Island Media, LongIsland.com staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.