The Freshman 15: Causes and Prevention Tips


The time period “freshman 15” is often utilized in America to explain the load college students have a tendency to achieve throughout their freshman 12 months in school, which is believed to be round 15 kilos (7 kg).

Whereas first-year school college students may not achieve precisely 15 kilos (7 kg), research present that the majority school college students achieve some weight throughout their first 12 months.

For instance, in a evaluation of 32 research, researchers discovered that greater than 60% of faculty college students gained a mean of seven.5 kilos (3.5 kg) throughout their freshman 12 months (1).

That’s a quicker tempo of weight achieve than in the remainder of the inhabitants (1).

This weight achieve will not be stunning, contemplating that school is a giant life-style shift for college students. It additionally tends to be the primary time many college students make all their very own selections round consuming and train (2).


“Freshman 15” is a time period used for the load college students have a tendency to achieve of their first 12 months in school. Whereas it will not be precisely 15 kilos (7 kg), research counsel most college students achieve some weight of their first 12 months.

There are lots of causes school college students could achieve weight throughout their first 12 months.

The next info explains some — however not all — of the widespread causes for gaining weight.

Consuming in dorms and at social occasions

In america, most college students transfer onto their college’s campus, the place they’ve pay as you go meal plans at some point of the semester.

Since cooking within the dorms is tough and typically not possible when you don’t have entry to kitchen services, meal plans are sometimes your greatest wager.

With meal plans, you sometimes should swipe your scholar ID or pay as you go meal card to entry the cafeteria, the place you’ll be able to fill your tray with what you’d wish to eat.

Though many campus menus provide wholesome choices, it may be tempting to go for much less wholesome processed meals, particularly when folks round you might be consuming these much less wholesome meals or while you’ve had a protracted, nerve-racking day of learning and actions (3).

It could even be tougher to manage portion sizes when meals is served in an “all you’ll be able to eat” format, which may contribute to better calorie consumption that results in weight achieve.

School additionally includes a variety of social occasions placed on by numerous golf equipment, organizations, and dorms. They have a tendency to incorporate meals, and the choices are sometimes restricted to takeout meals comparable to pizza.

One examine of 756 first-year school college students discovered that after beginning school, college students who lived on campus typically ate fewer wholesome meals choices comparable to fruits, veggies, and dairy merchandise (4).

Consuming late at night time

Energy don’t rely extra considerably when consumed at night time. Nonetheless, research present that late eaters are inclined to eat extra energy total.

In a single examine, researchers discovered that individuals who ate between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. consumed round 500 extra energy per day and gained about 3.5 kilos (1.6 kg) extra per 12 months than individuals who ate solely throughout daytime (5).

One motive for this can be that individuals who generally eat late at night time are inclined to go for extra handy, much less wholesome, excessive calorie meals since it could be tougher to make wholesome meals selections late at night time.

This can be very true while you’re on campus with restricted meals choices outdoors of the eating corridor.

On high of this, research counsel that as much as 60% of faculty college students discover themselves sleep-deprived for numerous causes, comparable to learning late (6).

People who find themselves sleep-deprived are inclined to eat extra energy and crave meals which might be handy and fewer wholesome and comprise extra energy (7, 8).

Stress and emotional consuming

The faculty expertise will be each thrilling and nerve-racking.

Many college students could discover themselves burdened with the strain to do effectively on exams, stability their research with social life, and address the monetary burden of scholar loans.

Research have discovered that people who find themselves burdened usually tend to achieve weight for causes comparable to altered starvation hormones and elevated cravings (9, 10, 11).

Plus, many individuals discover themselves in search of consolation in meals throughout nerve-racking occasions. At these occasions, they could are inclined to eat extremely palatable, much less nutritious meals which might be excessive in sugar and fats, comparable to ice cream, chocolate, lollipops, and potato chips (12).

Elevated alcohol consumption

School is the interval of life when many individuals begin ingesting alcohol.

Whereas the occasional drink possible gained’t contribute to a lot weight achieve, heavy ingesting throughout your freshman 12 months can shortly rack up extra energy.

Research estimate that greater than 30% of American school college students drink closely, with greater than 42% of scholars reporting a number of episodes of heavy ingesting in a month (outlined as greater than 5 customary drinks for males and 4 for girls) (13).

Consuming alcohol incessantly can shortly improve your calorie consumption and result in weight achieve, as alcohol itself offers 7 energy per gram. Additionally, alcoholic drinks could comprise further energy from carbohydrates and fats, relying on the mixers used.

Other than merely rising your calorie consumption, alcohol can have an effect on your weight in different methods.

Once you drink alcohol, your physique prefers to metabolize it earlier than carbs or fats, which suggests energy from these vitamins could also be extra more likely to be saved as fats (14).

Moreover, research counsel not solely that alcohol can improve your urge for food but additionally that while you’re intoxicated, you’ve decreased inhibitions round meals. This may occasionally imply you’re extra possible to decide on much less nutritious, excessive fats, excessive salt meals (15, 16, 17, 18).

Sedentary conduct

Train is nice for each your bodily and psychological well being. Nonetheless, research have discovered that folks are usually much less energetic as they transition from highschool to school (19, 20).

On high of this, school college students have a tendency to have interaction in additional sedentary actions, comparable to sitting down for lengthy durations. An evaluation of 125 research in college students discovered that college students on common sit for greater than 7 hours per day (21).

Sitting for lengthy durations means you burn fewer energy over the course of the day, which may result in weight achieve — particularly when you’re consuming the identical method you probably did while you have been extra energetic, comparable to in highschool.

Research have additionally linked extra sedentary conduct to a lot of detrimental well being outcomes in addition to elevated emotions of hysteria, despair, and stress, which aren’t good for total well-being (22, 23, 24).


There are numerous causes for weight achieve throughout the freshman 12 months, comparable to consuming in dorms, social occasions, consuming late at night time, stress and emotional consuming, elevated alcohol consumption, and decreased bodily exercise.

Whereas gaining weight in school could appear unavoidable, there are many issues you are able to do to assist stop it and maintain your self feeling higher in the long term.

Beneath are some suggestions that can assist you handle your weight in school.

Keep energetic

To start with, it’s a good suggestion to make an effort to remain energetic throughout your time in school.

Attempt to discover actions you take pleasure in and schedule common train into your weekly routine. You may strive jogging, following a YouTube exercise, lifting weights, or becoming a member of a bunch health class.

Rising your every day exercise doesn’t essentially imply you need to go to the gymnasium or train extra. Easy issues like strolling to your courses or taking the steps as a substitute of elevators could make a distinction in the long term.

Put together wholesome snacks

In case you have a tendency to check late at night time and wish snacks to remain targeted, put together some wholesome snacks beforehand that can maintain you targeted, curb your urge for food, and make it easier to keep away from much less nutritious, increased calorie fare.

It’s additionally a good suggestion to inventory some wholesome snacks in your dorm room to cut back the urge to eat processed meals when starvation or cravings hit.

Listed here are some nice wholesome and handy snack choices you’ll be able to maintain in your room:

  • Berries. Berries are nice to have available, as they’re low in energy however excessive in vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Nuts. Nuts are an important snack, excessive in heart-healthy fat and protein.
  • Nut and dried fruit bars. Snack bars with dried fruits and nuts are extraordinarily moveable and pack excessive quantities of protein, fiber, and energy.
  • Apple or banana slices with nut butter. Fruit with nut butter is a superb satisfying snack that mixes wholesome carbs with sources of wholesome fats and protein.
  • Carrot or celery sticks with hummus. This can be a low calorie snack that’s excessive in fiber and vitamins.
  • Plain air-popped popcorn. Air-popped popcorn is a low calorie snack that packs a excessive quantity of fiber, which might help maintain your digestion common.
  • Jerky. Jerky is usually a useful and filling snack to maintain in your room. It’s excessive in protein, however be aware of portion sizes since it might additionally comprise excessive quantities of salt.

It’s additionally a good suggestion to chop again on sugary drinks and alcohol. They’re typically excessive in empty energy and missing in vitamins, and so they don’t curb your urge for food the identical method entire meals do (25).

Fill your plate with nutrient-dense meals

With regards to navigating the eating corridor, begin by filling your plate with loads of greens, fruit, entire grains comparable to brown rice, and a supply of lean protein like fish, rooster, or beans.

Filling your plate with extra wholesome nutrient-dense meals like these will depart much less room for unhealthy gadgets.

Constructing a balanced plate with a mixture of fiber-rich entire grains, colourful produce, and lean protein will even make it easier to keep fuller longer, provide the vitality to energy by means of a protracted day of courses and learning, and assist stop undesirable weight achieve.

Handle your stress ranges

Stress will be troublesome to handle and may have an effect on your weight and psychological well being.

There are lots of approaches to emphasize administration, so it’s a good suggestion to take a while to determine which wholesome methods to handle stress work greatest for you.

Some nice methods to assist relieve stress embody:

  • spending time outside
  • going for a stroll within the park or a hike outside
  • working towards respiration workouts
  • doing yoga
  • meditating
  • listening to music you take pleasure in
  • in search of significant social connection

In case you’re having hassle discovering a wholesome approach to handle stress, contemplate in search of assist from a psychological well being counselor at your school.


You are able to do many issues to keep away from weight achieve, comparable to discovering methods to remain energetic, maintaining nutritious snacks available, selecting more healthy choices from the cafeteria, and discovering wholesome methods to handle stress.


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