Sep 1, 2006

The myth of the freshman 15

Just another urban legend.
One of the earliest references to this affliction appeared in The Chicago Tribune in 1985, and it has since become a standard part of college lore, especially among young women. What is college, after all, but unlimited access to all-you-can-eat buffet-style dining halls with prepaid meal cards, late-night partying or studying fueled by high-fat snacks, and gossip sessions with roommates served up with a side of ice cream?


“The ‘freshman 15’ is a catchy phrase,” Dr. Hoffman said. “Nobody would pay attention to the ‘freshman 5,’ and the ‘freshman 50’ is unrealistic.” But in a study of weight and body fat changes among 67 Rutgers freshmen, published last month in The Journal of American College Health, Dr. Hoffman found that 18 students lost weight, while 49 students gained an average of 7 pounds each. “Nobody gained 15 pounds.”

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