Before you start worrying too much about the “Freshman 15,” you should first know that you’re not inevitably destined to gain 15 pounds just because you’re a first-year college student.
Research published in The Journal of American College of Health shows that only about half of college freshman gain weight over the course of their first year at school. Additionally, further research from Ohio State University found that for those who do gain weight, the average is between 2.4 and 3.5 pounds.
In other words, most freshmen don’t gain anywhere close to 15 pounds. Knowing this shouldn’t make you feel like you won’t have to pay any attention to your eating, physical activity and other healthy habits while you’re away at school, though. You’ll be experiencing a new sense of freedom for the first time, and not to mention, probably a bit more stress, too. All of the different factors — like late-night studying, dining hall food options, partying and simply adjusting to a totally new environment — that characterize freshman year will certainly play a role in shaping your well-being.
You’ll likely be presented with many different situations that encourage less than healthy habits, but if you arrive armed and ready to overcome those obstacles you can easily avoid weight gain and set yourself up for a healthy and fit future. Keep reading to find out what to keep an eye out for and to learn expert tips for navigating college life in a way that promotes both a healthy and happy experience.