Work, classes and the freshman 15

By on September 4, 2003

With summer rolling out and hectic schedules, homework and new classes rolling in, bikinis and washboard stomachs don’t rank as high a priority as they did a few months ago. Putting fitness on the back burner, while battling the stress of campus life could leave you battling the bulge, known as the dreaded freshman 15.

While gaining weight is a common response in adjusting to a new environment, most incoming freshman find it difficult to balance a healthy diet with getting good grades, let alone finding the time to exercise.

People get to college and start to eat different foods, other than mom and dad’s cooking, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they gained some weight, said Sheila Burke, assistant director of Student Health Services. In some cases, it may be that they students want to be sociable and go out to eat with friends.

Still, some say that the notion of the freshman 15 is simply a myth that has become a belief around colleges. Anecdotal data suggest that weight gain does often occur in the first year away from home. Still the data suggests it really depends on the individual person.

Other experts believe that weight gain during the first year of college is inevitable. In fact, it is estimated that up to 75 percent of college students will put on a few pounds. Myth or not, Burke urges students to be conscious of what you put in your mouth.

“It’s all about willpower,” she said. “Some students may be having a tough time with their roommates and they eat or shop their woes away. But, they should watch what they eat, drink a lot of water and go for walks around campus.”

Although there was no research done at Quinnipiac, the great debate among researchers has been that the students who were most worried about the dreaded freshman 15 were most likely to think they’d put on weight, even if they hadn’t.

Researchers also say that the Freshman 15 myth is a potentially dangerous one. Ultimately for some, weight gain is inevitable. One of the hardest things for new students to adjust to is the variety of choices for mealtime.

Quinnipiac offers access to three different dining operations. The Caf


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