According to a new study, you don't need to go to college to gain what is often called the "freshman 15".
Instead, researchers at Ohio State University’s Center for Human Resource Research believe this weight gain is typical of ALL young adults, regardless of whether they are amassing student loan debt.
The study has also found that weight gain during the 13th grade is usually only between 2.5 and 3.5 pounds.
After analyzing data from over 7,000 students surveyed in 1997 before college, then again a year later, it was determined women gained an average of 2.4 pounds freshman year, while men gained 3.4. No more than 10% of college freshman gained the mythological 15 pounds
“The ‘freshman 15′ is a media myth. Most students don’t gain large amounts of weight. And it is not college that leads to weight gain — it is becoming a young adult.”
It has long been believed that a sudden onslaught of binge drinking, partying, and late-night munchies resulted in college freshman gaining a significant amount of weight their first year of higher education. Let's be honest though, young adults don't need college to indulge in all of the above.
In fact, too much partying may be the ONLY thing students have to blame for putting on too many pounds throughout their 18th year of life. The only factor that made a significant difference in student weight gain was, indeed, heavy drinking.
Zagorsky also points out that concern over all-you-can-eat style cafeterias may not be warranted, explaining:
“There has been concern that access to all-you-can-eat cafeterias and abundant fast-food choices, with no parental oversight, may lead to weight gain, but that doesn’t seem to hold true for most students.”
Whether young adults are preparing to enter their first year of college or the work force, Zagorksy recommends "developing the habit of eating healthy foods and exercising regularly."
"Those habits," he continues, "will help them throughout their lives."
[Image via WENN.]