College Weight Gain

Students today are faced with the serious reality of unwanted weight gain as they enter college. A recent study by Cornell University found that on average, college freshman gain about 0.5 pounds a week. This is almost 11 times more than the average weight gain among 17-and 18-year olds and almost 20 times more than the average weight gain among American adults! In the face of such staggering statistics two obvious questions arise: 1) Why are college students gaining weight at such an alarming rate? and 2) How can college weight gain be avoided?

Q: Why are college students gaining weight at such an alarming rate?

A: There are many different specifics that lead the student to gain weight in college, but they can be summed up into three main categories.

1. Increase in Calories

College life encourages an increase in the caloric intake of students. College is filled with social events and social events usually equal FOOD! Most college cafeterias serve their food buffet style, and when given access to unlimited amounts of food most people automatically overeat. Fast food, while laden with calories, is cheap so it appeals to the budget of a college student. Studying for long hours often leads to snacking for hours. Blended coffee drinks and smoothies are often staples in a college student's diet even though these items often pack more calories than a regular meal.

2. Decrease in Activity

When students enter college most of them leave organized sports behind them. These students that were used to practicing five or more times a week for hours at a time are now left with no accountability to be active. Couple this with the hectic schedule that most college students deal with, and it begins to make sense why most incoming freshmen don't even make time to find the campus gym, let alone visit it regularly!

3. Metabolism Killers

College students are notorious for crashing their metabolism by poorly managing their diets. This occurs when a student eats too few meals, and ends up eating extra large meals once or twice a day instead of proportioned meals throughout the day. A common metabolism killer of college students is skipping breakfast, the most important meal of the day as it starts one's metabolism up in the morning. Eating late at night is another classic metabolism killer of college students.

Q: How can college weight gain be avoided?

A: The first step in avoiding weight gain is to be aware of the things that cause it. Couple that with the following three suggestions of proven ways to avoid weight gain, and you are looking at a plan of success!

1. Set a Goal

The best way to ensure that you don't become the next college weight gain statistic is to make it your goal not to gain the weight. Be aware of the changes to your lifestyle once you enter college, and make a conscious effort to only allow healthy changes to occur. Post your goal where you can view it every day and periodically check your progress by weighing yourself.

2. Practice Nutritious Eating

Be aware of the pitfalls of college eating habits and concentrate on eating nutritious well-balanced meals. Avoid fried foods and foods high in calories. Eat as many fresh vegetables and fruits as you can, and practice portion control while roaming the cafeteria.

3. Join an Exercise Program

Whether you join an intramural sports team, enroll in PE, or attend an aerobics class the bottom line is that you need to be active in order to ward off the freshman fifteen. Find an activity that you enjoy and consistently do it. You should be exercising a minimum of half an hour three times each week. A great way to keep consistent is to build accountability with a friend.

Armed with an informed game plan and some effort, any college student can avoid weight gain. For more information on college weight gain, and for your own game plan visit You don't have to settle for depressing weight gain as you navigate through the most exciting time of your life! You deserve the body of your dreams.

Diana Keuilian, Certified Personal Trainer, and author of "Avoid The Freshman Fifteen", has a proven method for avoiding college weight gain. Visit to learn more. She is also the head Fitness Trainer for the nation's leading online fitness site and board member of

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