In college, as in life itself, good and bad outcomes often develop over time. Intellectual growth in college, accumulates with each sentence, chapter and book read, with each lecture and class attended, and each semester completed.
And student health issues, especially when measured by weight gain, also develop over time. During the first year, some studies have found that college women can gain as much as 20 pounds, significantly higher than their non-college peers.
There are conflicting studies on weight gain during the freshman year, with the freshman 15 – the weight gain during the first year of college – attaining legendary status. Cornell researchers report college freshman gain an average of four pounds during their first 12 weeks on campus alone. Other studies confirm this instant weight gain, but several say it occurs in the second year for both men and women.
One of the most recent studies says that like learning, weight gain is gradual, piling on steadily throughout the college years. Auburn researchers found that 70% of students it studied gained as average of 12 pounds during their college careers. And it found that those considered overweight or obese to begin with, increased their weight a startling 18 to 31 percent by the end of four years.
The result of this weight gain: one-third of college students (5.2 million) are overweight or obese and at risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and increased cholesterol and fat in their systems.
In short, weight gain in college is a hazard. And students should be careful that while they accumulate knowledge, they refrain from accumulating weight. I will deal with the reasons and solutions to weight gain in college in the coming weeks.