'Changes in body weight, composition, and shape: A 4-year study of college students' published today in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism
A new study published today in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism (APNM) looks beyond the much-feared weight gain common to first-year students and reports on the full 4-year impact of higher education on weight, BMI, and body composition.
"Gropper et al. present a unique study that follows students through their undergraduate years. It documents the nature of the weight gain and shows the differences between males and females," says Susan Whiting, a professor of nutrition and dietetics at the University of Saskatchewan.
"While dozens of studies have investigated weight gain during the freshman year of college and have reported on the so called "freshman 15" (the commonly held belief that students gain an average of 15 lbs their first year of college), our study is the first to examine changes in weight, body mass index, body composition, and body shape over the 4-year college period," explains Sareen Gropper, a co-author of the study and researcher at Auburn University in Alabama.
The study followed 131 college students from the beginning of their first year to the end of their senior year. After 4 years in college about 70% of students had gained weight, which averaged at 5.3 kg, or 11.68 lbs; males gained significantly more weight, percent body fat , and BMI than females; and the percentage of participants considered overweight or obese increased from 18% to 31%.