CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dear Cindy,
Soon I am leaving for college and am constantly hearing about how students always gain weight the first year. I've been active and played sports in high school but won't be playing in college, which is why I am writing you. My weight is pretty good, but I am worried that I will gain, as some of my friends say. Any ideas that will help me? -- Sheena
The fact that you are inquiring about this tells me you are way ahead of the class. Awareness and knowledge equal power. But it's a valid question considering you expect to be less physically active. This freshman phenomenon follows the sudden shift that occurs in a new student's life. Living arrangements change, there's a separation from family and friends, responsibilities increase, and then college life offers a freedom like never before.
The 'Freshman 15'
The 'Freshman 15' is slang for the weight commonly gained during the first year in college. Here are just a few reasons why it happens:
It's easy to see how this freshman freedom can turn into 15 pounds of freshman fat.
The good news is that it's not inevitable. In fact, those in the know may actually manage to lose weight or maintain their current weight. Also, because it's in the best interest for colleges and universities to have a healthy student body, they are making efforts to encourage and to facilitate better lifestyle choices.