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Study Finds That “The Freshman 15” Pounds Of Weight Gain Is A Myth

October 31, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
An Ohio State University study reports that the commonly held belief that college students gain an average of 15 pounds during their freshman year is a myth. Not only do college students not gain anywhere near “the freshman 15” pounds, college has little to do with weight gain, which is more associated with becoming an adult. The average college freshman gains an average of 2.5 to 3.5 pounds, the study found. The study analyzed data from 7,418 young Americans who participated in a survey beginning in 1997 and were interviewed every year after that. Women gained an average of 2.4 pounds as freshmen; men gained an average of 3.4 pounds. Only 10 percent gained 15 pounds or more, and 25 percent actually lost weight.
Jay L. Zagorsky et al., "The Freshman 15: A Critical Time for Obesity Intervention or Media Myth? ", Social Science Quarterly, October 31, 2011, © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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