A recent study at the University of South Alabama tested the validity of the event known among students as the “freshman 15.” The results of this study provide evidence that the freshman 15 is generally a common exaggeration.
The study was entitled “Freshman Fifteen: Fact or Fiction?” Four researchers conducted the study and examined a sample of 52 freshman college students attending the University of South Alabama. After concluding the students’ freshman year, 62 percent reported gaining weight. However, the average weight increase was a little below 11 pounds.
Despite the study’s findings, a former SLCC student and current senior at the University of Utah, Mattie Brandon, believes the expression should be the freshman 30.
“I gained 30 pounds my first year of college. It was terrible. The freshman 15 is the understatement of the century,” he said. “Thankfully, I was able to lose it all eventually. But still, it was ridiculous.”
The weight gain that was reported in the study ranged from just two pounds to 28 pounds. Although the average weight gain was only about 11 pounds, Brandon isn’t the only college student that experienced a more extensive weight gain in the first year of college.
Students in the study who experienced a weight increase listed reasons that contributed to their weight gain. About 21 percent attributed their weight gain to late-night snacking. The second most common reason reported for weight gain was the cafeteria food, with 13 percent.
“When I lived in the dorms, I would eat in the cafeteria every day for most of my meals. The food there is actually pretty good, which means it’s also really greasy and unhealthy,” Brandon said. “Plus, there is all you can eat; not a good combination at all.”
The infamous claim that freshman students gain 15 pounds continues to be investigated, scrutinized, evaluated and debated by scientists and researchers.
Nonetheless, it is not impossible for students to avoid this incident. Out of the 52 students who participated in the study, 21 percent maintained their weight and 17 percent lost weight. The students identified exercise as the most effective way to maintain weight.
“I have a set activity schedule each week that I do with my friends. We do some sort of active sport like long boarding for example,” Philip Klc, a current student at SLCC said.
Current SLCC student Jordan Erickson makes sure he has time to exercise in his day.
“I usually just plan out a schedule. I’ll go to school in the morning, then do homework right after. I go to work and then exercise right before I go to bed,” Erickson said.
Recent research indicates that a significant amount of college students gain weight during the first year of school. However, the weight increase among students generally appears to be moderate and not permanent.
Most importantly, the infamous freshman 15 is not inevitable. Students who eat healthy and exercise regularly avoid it altogether.