Avoiding the freshman 15

First-year students encounter a newfound freedom upon their arrival to a college campus, but it’s easy for them to forget that their freedom comes with a price known as the infamous “freshman 15.”

The freshman 15 is the belief that students gain 15 pounds during their freshman year of college. Although it’s true that some students gain weight during their first year of college, it’s more accurate to say that those same 15 pounds are, on average, gained throughout a student’s entire college career rather than in their first year alone.

There are many factors that cause college students to gain weight. Constant fast food consumption, insufficient sleep and high levels of stress are some of the main causes of weight gain during college. Obesity Action Coalition suggests, “Be good to yourself and get at least eight hours per night. If you need to, give yourself permission to take short naps.”

For many students, their freshman year of college is usually their first year on their own. They must choose their own meals and set a schedule for when they’ll eat. They rely on cafeteria food and fast food which, let’s be honest, doesn’t always have the healthiest choices. The amount of caffeinated and sports drinks that a college student drinks contributes plenty of sugar to the body.

Another thing about college freedom is that you can go out whenever you want. Regardless if it’s a school night or 11 p.m. on a Sunday, you can grab your car keys and go where you please. The problem with late-night outings is the consequences one must pay the morning after.

Many can agree that college is a place roaming with stressful students. Who wouldn’t want to eat a pizza while cramming for an exam? Don’t let your nerves get the best of you. Drop the greasy food and munch on an apple. Stock your dorm with healthy snacks to relinquish any other temptation.

Although the freshman 15 is only a myth, obesity in America is very much true. If little changes in your routine can help improve your health, why not do it?