It is not just a myth. Studies show that students on average gain 3 to 10 pounds during their first 2 years of college. Most of this weight gain occurs during the first semester of freshman year. So how can you help your child avoid it? First it is helpful to understand why the weight gain occurs.

What’s Behind It?



Staying up late

Freedom to eat whatever, whenever

Lack of exercise

Alcohol consumption

Even more dangerous than the “freshman 15” is establishing a pattern of gaining a little weight each year which will lead to long term weight management problems and obesity.

To Avoid Long Term Weight Gain:

Skipping meals and fad diets won’t do the trick. Learn how to make lifestyle changes by talking to your doctor or ask someone at the student health center for advice.

Learn about nutrition. Many schools have nutrition counselors. If yours does not, talk to someone on the student health services staff about nutrition and how to make good choices in the dining hall.

Exercise. Try to work 30 minutes of moderate exercise into your schedule each day (like walking, jogging, swimming, or working out at the gym) and you’ll feel and see the results.

Get enough sleep. Seven to 8 hours of sleep is best and keep a regular sleep schedule.

How can you help your child avoid weight gain?

Talk to your child about healthy eating and what they should and should not eat.