College students everywhere take a look in the mirror — the freshman 15 you’ve heard about since high school may just be a myth.
A new study in Social Science Quarterly found that college freshman only gain an average of 2.5 to 3.5 pounds during their first year at school. That’s only an additional half-pound more than those the same age who don’t attend college.
Ohio State University sociologist Jay Zagorsky, who led the study, told the Houston Chronicle that weight gain shouldn’t be a concern for students starting college.
“Repeated use of the phrase ‘the freshman 15', even if it’s being used just as a catchy, alliterative figure of speech, may contribute to the perception of being overweight, especially among young women,” he said.
The study used information from more than 7,000 Americans who participated in the National Longtitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, where people between the ages of 13 and 17 that year were interviewed then and every year since. About 10 percent of the participants gained 15 pounds or more their freshman years, while 25 percent of them actually lost weight throughout their college days.