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Freshman 15

"Freshman 15" is an expression commonly used in the United States and Canada that refers to an amount (somewhat arbitrarily set at 15 pounds, and originally just 10) of weight gained during a student's first year at college. In Australia and New Zealand it is sometimes referred to as First Year Fatties,Fresher Spread, or Fresher Five, the latter referring to a five-kilogram gain.

The purported causes of this weight gain are increased alcohol intake and the consumption of fat and carbohydrate-rich cafeteria-style food and fast food in university dormitories. Many other causes include malnutrition, stress, and decreased levels of exercise. All of these factors can affect each person in a different way. Studies confirm many of these causes. Colleges and universities have recently been cracking down on this common problem and are trying to educate people on how to prevent it. This problem has grown so much that students are focusing on how to stop the freshman 15 before it happens.

Despite how commonly the Freshman 15 is asserted, an Ohio State University study showed that the average college student gains only two to three pounds in their first year. Additionally, it showed that college students did not gain any more weight than non-college students of the same age, and that the only factor that increased weight gain was heavy drinking.

College meal plans are designed to give students a wide variety of options. The most generic meal plans include a set amount of meals per day, so many per week, or so many per semester. In addition, plans may include extra money that can be spent on snacks or other meals. Students can eat several meals a day or less than three meals a day. The meal plan was designed to benefit the student but it can be abused.

The dining halls at colleges try to make dining at school convenient and comfortable. Dining halls can provide a wide variety and bountiful options of food. They can also provide a place where students can endlessly indulge in high calorie foods such as pizza, fried food, and ice cream. When exposed to these fast food restaurants, students are generally more likely to choose them over healthier options, which leads to weight gain, especially if fast food restaurants are more prevalent on campus than other restaurants. A study done on 60 students at Cornell University showed that 20% of the weight gained by the test subjects was due to the fact students were eating at all-you-can-eat dining halls.

Alcoholic Drink Calories
Beer, lite, 12 oz. 100
Beer, regular, 12 oz. 150
Frozen daiquiri, 4 oz. 216
Gin, 1.5 oz. 110
Mai tai, 4 oz. 310
Margarita, 4 oz. 270
Rum, 1.5 oz. 96
Vodka, 1.5 oz. 96
Whiskey, 1.5 oz. 105
Wine spritzer, 4 oz. 49
Wine, dessert, sweet, 4 oz. 180

  • Brown, C (March 2008). "The information trail of the 'Freshman 15' - a systematic review of a health myth within the research and popular literature". Health Info Libr J. 25 (1): 1–12. doi:10.1111/j.1471-1842.2007.00762.x. 


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