‘Freshman 15’ myth exaggerated, nutrition is essential

17 September 2019

Devon Williams

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The beginning of the semester for college students could also mean the fear that freshman may have about gaining the infamous “freshman 15.” The phrase refers to the idea that, during their first year of college, freshman students are prone to gaining weight — 15 pounds on average.

A combination of buffet dining options, stress and illicit alcohol consumption are factors that would create the “freshman 15,” but most studies on the phenomenon has concluded that gains are not that high on average.

Research conducted in 2015, shows that most students, 60.9 percent, will gain weight during their freshman year, but only an average of 7.5 pounds, according to Katie Grodon, wellness promotion manager, via email.

According to Nutrition Reviews by Crombie et al., the weight gain is due to a large increase in lean mass muscle. Researchers found that eating behaviors, alcohol, stress, sleep patterns and sedentary lifestyles were the causes of college student weight gain.

“Nutrition is a vital component to wellness and academics,” said Gordon. “We encourage every student to use MyPlate to ensure that they are eating the proper proportions of vegetables, fruits, grains and protein.” Gordon added that balanced diets can help improve academic focus because of its effects on focus, mood and energy stability.

Gordon said that UCCS’ food and dining program has high quality and healthy ingredients.

Clyde’s Choice is another program at UCCS that helps students identify healthier options on campus. All items stamped with a Clyde’s Choice logo meet certain nutritional criteria or have been approved by the registered dietitian in the UCCS Dining department.

Gordon said that Food Next Door at the Roaring Fork to learn more about sustainability and nutrition. Students can also buy food grown on campus at the UCCS farm stand on Friday afternoons.

Gordon said that the best ways to avoid weight gain during your first year is to snack throughout the day; students can follow Clyde’s Choice recommendations and avoid restrictive or fad diets in order to avoid gaining weight or being unhealthy.