SATURDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Irresponsible eating, lack of exercise and alcohol consumption are among the factors that contribute to the Freshman 15, which refers to the extra pounds packed on by many new college students, according to a Duke University expert.
Many freshmen don't know how to select or make healthy meals, and stress from heavy class loads and the struggle to achieve good grades can make them eat food at the wrong time, said Elisabetta Politi, nutrition director at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center. Processed convenience foods are an easy option when students are up late cramming for tests or finishing papers.
Campus gatherings often include alcohol, which has a lot of calories. But it affects weight in other ways, too.
"When you drink alcohol, your resistance to everything goes down, including your resistance to temptation of fatty foods. You tend to eat more when you drink," Politi said in a Duke news release.
She also noted that many students who are physically active in high school become couch potatoes when they start college.
Politi offered a number of tips to help new college students keep their weight under control:
The Nemours Foundation has more about the Freshman 15.
SOURCE: Duke University, news release, July 25, 2008