Higher Education And Weight Gain Go Hand In HandMain Category: Obesity / Weight Loss / Fitness
Article Date: 18 Sep 2012
The "freshman 15" is a proven reality, according to a new study published by the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.
Researchers concentrated on the impact of a full four years of higher education on BMI, weight, and body composition. The study targets the nature of the weight gain, as well as the differences between male and females by following students throughout their undergraduate years. Previous research has examined weight gain during the freshman year of college, but the new report is a direct view into body composition, body mass index, body shape, and weight over the entire college period.
During the study 131 college students were followed from the beginning of their first year to the end of their fourth year. Findings showed that about 70 percent of students gained weight, averaging about 11.68 lbs (5.3 kg). Males gained significantly more weight, BMI, and body fat than females. Participants considered to be obese also increased from 18 percent to 31 percent.
Why exactly are college kids gaining weight? Previous research suggests the availability to food may be one factor. Freshmen living in dorms with onsite dining have been reported to gain more weight than those that buy food off campus.
College students generally live away from home, do not have a parent preparing meals or grocery shopping for them, and are often distracted by their studies and extracurricular activities.
It has been said that the choices college kids make can establish a pattern that they follow for the rest of their lives.
Experts say unhealthy habits may quickly change into permanent weight gain. Poor diets and little or no physical activity can increase risk for cancer and other diseases. This study, in particular, establishes that after four years, changes can be substantial and how important early adulthood is in body composition. The authors encourage students to make healthy choices and urge educational institutions to take steps to enable these decisions.
Sareen Gropper, a co-author of the study and researcher at Auburn University in Alabama comments, "Our findings clearly suggest the need for additional campus-based health promotion strategies for students from the freshman year through their senior year of college."
Written by Kelly Fitzgerald
Copyright: MediLexicon International Ltd
Original article posted on Medical News Today.
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