A new study from the University of Guelph, Canada has debunked the popular 'Freshman 15' notion that students gain 15 pounds during their first year of college, and insists that it may overstate students' actual weight gain.
The researchers found that the students reported gaining less weight than the "Freshman 15,"
"It is important to recognize that the increase of 5.29 lbs. occurred over a period of just six to seven months...Weight gain at this rate over an extended period of time could lead to overweight/obesity and is certainly cause for concern," said the researchers.
The students were asked to complete a dietary assessment questionnaire with diet and lifestyle questions adapted from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (Canada) and the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey.
The team found that students showed increases in their body mass index from an average of 22.3 to 23.1.
The average percent body fat went from also showed a slight increase from 23.8 to 25.6 and average waist circumference increased from 30.27 to 31.25 inches.
The proportion of participants with BMI measurements classified as either normal or underweight decreased from 79 to 75 percent and from eight to six percent, respectively.
The proportion of students who were classified as overweight (BMI above 25) increased from 15 percent to 22 percent, while those who were obese (BMI at or above 30) remained constant at 3 percent.
The study appears in June 2008 Journal of the American Dietetic Association.