With colleges in session for nearly an entire fall semester, many freshmen are not only dealing with carrying around an extra work load, there also carrying around extra weight. So just what causes that extra weight to pack on so quickly in such a short period of time?
There are a number of reasons which can vary from student to student. For example, if you were an athlete in high school and not as active in college, this could cause a decrease in muscle mass which translates into a slower metabolism.
Students are also required to study more, which means more sitting and lots of times more snacking. There is a lot more socializing and group ordering of late night pizzas, wings, mozzarella sticks, etc. In my college days back in the Philadelphia area, students were partial to cheese steaks. Of course, alcohol, although illegal, does play a role in additional calories and pounds.
College is a transitional time between adolescence and adulthood, so there are many biological changes which are taking place in a student’s body. This is one of the very reasons why the legal drinking age is 21. The body is just not equipped enough yet to metabolize alcohol, let alone large or massive quantities of it. Binge drinking is also a huge problem and can lead to not wanting to take in the proper nutrients a body needs.
The key to creating a plan to combat the Freshman 15 is to take a positive spin and empower students to make healthy choices. For example, a student who eats unhealthy and smokes may still be too thin. The key here is to give the students support groups, better food choices and encourage them to exercise. Shift the focus away from body image because there are too many unhealthy ways to lose weight which are not long-term or a lifestyle. Many colleges have dietetic services that will help you come up with a meal plan of good choices. Also, almost every college has a salad bar, exercise facilities, and leisure, non-competetive or intramural sports for those that are not on a team. Usually, all of these services are included in your tuition costs, unlike in my days where the workout facility cost extra.