An extra 10 pounds comes with a college degree

December 12, 2016 in Healthy Eating, Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

An extra 10 pounds comes with a college degree

According to a new study from the University of Vermont, college students are lugging an extra 10 pounds gained over their college years, on average, along with the associated health risks.

The myth of the 'freshman 15' has been widely debunked, this new study suggests that there is concerning weight gain among college students that happens over all four years they are in college.

The study measured student weight and body-mass-index at the beginning and end of students' first and second semesters and again at the end of their senior year.

At the beginning of their college careers, the mean weight of the students in the study was about 147 pounds. By the end of senior year, it had increased to about 157 pounds.

More students overweight, obese at end of senior year

The extra weight translates to increased health risk. Twenty-three percent of the students in the study were overweight or obese as they were starting college. By the end of senior year, 41 percent were in that category, a 78 percent increase.

Obese young adults are at risk for a variety of health conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, polycystic ovarian syndrome and psychosocial distress.

While students gained roughly a third of the weight in their first year -- about three pounds on average - they also gained in other years, an important finding for the design of behavior-related interventions meant to help them keep the pounds off.

While there was no direct connection among the students surveyed between lifestyle factors and weight or BMI gain, only 15 percent of the sample met the exercise target of 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week. And for most students, fruit and vegetable consumption was also below the recommended intake.

Source: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, online December 8, 2016.

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