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Freshman Weight Gain: a Myth?

College students may not be adding as many pounds as thought, new research contends

FRIDAY, April 29, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- There may not be much weight behind the Freshman 15 theory that students gain 15 pounds during their freshman year of college.

U.S. researchers studied data colected last year from a random sample of first-year students at a small, private, northeastern university.

The study found that 51.3 percent of the participants reported gaining weight since the start of their freshman year. However, the average weight increase was 2.7 lbs. Men reported an average weight gain of 3.7 pounds, and women reported gaining an average of 1.7 pounds.

Only five percent of the participants reported a 15-pound gain.

Students who were overweight at the start of their freshman year were not likely to gain more weight than students who weighed a normal amount at the start of the year, the study found, according to a prepared statement.

The findings were to be presented Friday at the American Heart Association's annual conference on cardiovascular disease, epidemiology and prevention in Washington, D.C.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians offers nutrition advice.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, April 29, 2005
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