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What Causes the “Freshman 15”?

The freshman 15, something that college students are way too familiar with, is widely fretted by first year students. Believed to be unavoidable, the freshman 15 is the concept where freshman college students will gain weight, sometimes even u to 15 pounds in one year. But what causes this undesired weight gain; could it be the stress, the large assumptions of alcohol, or simply the fact of constant ample amount of food?

I asked a few Freshman here at Rollins their beliefs as to what causes this so called freshman 15. I talked to Freshman Leah Barnett and she shared her ways of staying away from the those extra pounds, “One way to avoid the freshman 15 is to get involved in the class at the gym. Even if you don’t want to exert that kind of energy, when you think about having that Oreo, go to the C-store and buy a container of raspberries and eat those. Trust me, it’s not worth it.” Marissa Prochaska also expressed her fear of the Freshman 15 when she first came to college, “Not going to lie before I came to college I had definitely heard a lot about the Freshman 15, but after I had our first practice I wasn’t worried about it anymore. My workouts definitely keep me in shape and also our coaches keep us on a strict eating regimen.”

Now despite these assumptions, there have been real studies completed regarding the freshman 15, including one done by the Journal of American College Health that actually revealed quite the contrary to popular belief. The study targeted unmarried freshman living on-campus and tested their social behaviors and their weight. After tracking these students for the duration of their first year as college students, the study revealed that only half of college students gained weight and only an average of 2.7lbs; about 15% of college students lost weight. The study also revealed that men were more prone to gaining weight that these first year women.

So overall, even though the concept may be widely believed by many, this concept of the freshman 15 is in fact a myth. So for this week, the week that celebrates the concept of love your body, everyone deserves to take one good look in the mirror and appreciate themselves for who they are.

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