The 'Freshman 15' Is More Myth Than Reality -- the 'Freshman 3.5' More Accurate, Study Finds

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'Freshman 15' a Myth, Researchers Say

The data seem to conirm this. The researchers studied whether living in a dormitory, going to school full- or part-time, pursuing a two- or four-year degree played a part in the number of pounds packed on. "None of these factors made a significant difference on weight gain, except for heavy drinking," said Zagorsky. "Even then, those who were heavy drinkers gained less than a pound more than students who did not drink at that level."

Zagorsky emphasized the importance of adapting and sticking to a healthy lifestyle after one leaves school. The study found that in the four years following college, the typical student gained 1.5 pounds per year. Median weight gain then rose to 2.2 pounds in the fifth year. Anyone who gains an average of 1.5 pounds per year will eventually become obese, regardless of their initial weight.

"The big question is not, 'What can a freshman do?' -- at least not in my mind," Zagorsky said. "It's much more, 'How can you live a healthy lifestyle for the long-term and not feel bad about big Sunday brunch in the cafeteria?'"

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