Anchor Lead: What comes to mind when you think of the freshman 15, or the freshman five? It may sound like something from sports, but it’s actually about weight gain college freshmen are supposed to face. As students head home for winter break they can reflect on their first semester away at college. What habits did they pick up and did they cause weight gain? TV2’s Paige Katrinchak reports… substantial weight gain doesn’t happen overnight or even in one year.
A warning some students may hear coming into their first year in college is watch out for the freshman 15. The freshman 15 is a term used to describe the weight gain first-year students are supposed to try to avoid.
In the hub, a dining hall at Kent State University, students are given different choices of what to eat each day. Students must make the decision to eat food like hot dogs and fries, or a sandwich at Subway.
It’s changes in nutrition and exercise that put freshmen at risk to gain weight. Students are warned to watch out for this potential weight gain, but is the freshman 15 a reality most face?
Registered dietician and nutrition instructor, Tanya Falcone, said it is more like the freshman five. Students gain more like three to five pounds their first year.
Falcone said weight gain usually happens gradually throughout college and all comes down to choices.
“Essentially you’re living in a dorm and you’re eating whatever you want when you want,” Falcone said. “What are you going to pick, vegetables or a slice of pizza? So we do see that, but we don’t necessarily see a 15 pound weight gain in the first year.”
According to a study at Ohio State University, less than 10 percent of freshmen gain 15 pounds or more their first year. But, with only having a microwave to cook, an increase in time spent studying, and more alcohol made available, it can be hard for students to avoid weight gain.
But, freshman Taylor Pierce seems to have beaten the odds. Pierce finds time to go to the recreation center in-between studying and classes. Pierce said she doesn’t think the freshman 15 is a reality for her.
“I try to take breaks from studying and work out at least 3 times a week,” Pierce said. “I also eat healthier foods like yogurt and granola bars. And I’ve actually lost a couple of pounds since being here this year.”
The study at Ohio State University stated a quarter of students actually lose weight their first year, just like Pierce. Falcone said watching portion sizes and walking around campus can help students stay healthy.
Falcone also said Kent State offers two free nutrition counseling sessions for students, as well as classes on nutrition and cooking with a microwave.