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Does the 'Freshman 15' Exist?

freshman, freshmen, college, university, student, students, freshman 15, weight gain, weight, obesity, alcohol, fast food, exercise, eating, nutrition
College freshman can develop many bad habits that contribute to the 'Freshman 15.' (Image credit: Supri Suharjoto/<a href=""></a>)

Unfortunately, yes.

While the extra pounds tacked on by new college students may not be exactly 15, freshmen are definitely at risk for adding unwanted girth.

One reason: the newfound freedom freshmen find away from Mom's watchful eye, experts say. College students tend to go for the quickest and easiest foods, so wings and French fries get subbed for carrots and apples.

Those pizza and soda-fueled late-nighters don't help either. By staying up late, students eat more food than they did at home.

Binge-drinking may also play a role, nutritionists say, as alcohol has more calories per gram than any other nutrient besides fat.

So, for all you soon-to-be freshmen, here's a few things you can do to keep off the extra pounds:

  • Back away from the burger and try to keep away from other fast foods.
  • Take a study break and get some exercise — join an intramural team, or just take a walk around campus with a friend.
  • Stop throwing back sodas to stay awake — all that sugar just packs on the pounds.
  • Like Mom always told you, eat your veggies. (Eat a salad at the dining hall, then perhaps move on to the fried chicken if you're still hungry.)

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Andrea Thompson
Andrea graduated from Georgia Tech with a B.S. in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in 2004 and a Master's in the same subject in 2006. She attended the Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program at New York University and graduated with a Master of Arts in 2006.