Have you ever heard of a phenomenon called “the freshman 15?” Anyone who has gone to college is probably familiar with the phrase, which refers to the typical weight gain that most students experience in their freshman year of college. Not all college students gain exactly fifteen pounds freshman year, but many do experience weight gain when they begin college. New research shows that a particular group may be more likely to fall victim to this phenomenon than others.
A new study conducted by Andrea Josse, a professor from the School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences at York University in Toronto, showed that male freshman students are more likely to pack on the pounds than their female counterparts. In fact, the study showed that on average, male students will gain twice as much as female students during their freshman year!
Why Male Students Pack On the Pounds
Josse polled 301 freshman students, inquiring about their eating habits, their physical activity, and how much weight they had gained since starting school. The results showed that male students had gained an average of eight pounds during freshman year, whereas female students gained an average of four pounds.
So why might male students be gaining twice as much as female students in their first year of college? Josse suggests that behavior is the culprit behind the weight gain. The students’ polling results revealed that male students were more likely to partake in excessive drinking. As most of us know, alcohol can pack on the pounds in no time at all.
The polling also showed that male students were less likely to explore healthy eating options. While the female students reported eating more vegetables and well-rounded diets, the male students were more likely to opt for fast food and snacks. Combine the unhealthy diet with the binge drinking and you’ve got a recipe for weight gain!
How Students Can Avoid “The Freshman 15”
While it may not be “the freshman 15,” the study shows that students are still gaining weight their first year at school. What can students do to avoid this seemingly inevitable weight gain when they begin college? Here are a few things that students can do that will help them stay in shape or lose weight if they’ve already fallen victim to the freshman weight gain phenomenon:
Avoid the Dining Halls
Sure, it’s more budget-friendly to eat all your meals from the dining hall, but it’s not going to be friendly to your waistline. The foods supplied at the dining halls in most colleges are unhealthy. It’s more about quantity than quality, which means you’re just eating a bunch of food that is packed with calories and lacking in nutrients. Instead, try to make your own meals at home or in your dorm. Get healthy ingredients (for as cheap as you can) and make your own meals at home. This will help you to be more health-conscious and keep the weight off.
Keep the Alcohol To A Minimum
Sure, drinking and parties are a major aspect of college life. With that said, keep it to a minimum. This is both for your health and your safety! Alcohol is awful for your waistline and even worse for your well-being. We recommend keeping it to a minimum of one to two drinks per week. Yeah, you read that right – per week.
Make Time To Exercise
We understand that college can get hectic. Between classes, studying, work, and extracurricular activities, it’s hard to find time to workout. Even so, it’s essential that you make time to exercise if you want to keep the weight off. It doesn’t have to be everyday! Instead, aim to do moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes 4 to 5 times per week.