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Fast and Furious Weight Gain

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College eating habits change during freshman year

When college freshmen leave home for campus for the first time, it’s commonly accepted that they will gain weight.  Unfortunately gaining “the freshman fifteen” is almost a rite of passage that many students experience when living on campus and fending for their own meals.

To learn more about this phenomenon, researchers from Brock University in Canada worked with over 300 college Freshman during their first year at school.  Students participated in two body measurement check ins, one at the beginning and the other at the end of the year.  In between participants kept food frequency questionnaires for investigators to evaluate. 

Overall participants gained weight, not the ominous fifteen pounds, but young men gained just over 8 pounds while ladies gained just about 4.  While calories over the year stayed about the same, their diet quality went way down – meaning they ate fewer nutritious foods (oats and whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, yogurt).  Young men were especially guilty of eating more fried foods, doughnuts and almost doubled their alcohol intake from the beginning of the year.  Researchers shared that weight changes in these first-year students was five times greater than the general population over a year –WOW. 

They takeaway is that college freshmen, men in particular,  have an opportunity to learn about creating nutritious and balanced meals to help close this gap.  Doing so will help control weight and ensure essential vitamins and minerals for optimal scholastic performance

Published September 1st 2019

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