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Don’t Stress About ‘The Freshman 15’


One of college’s most common killers? Stress. Stress manifests itself in different ways for everyone. For junior environmental science major Braden Hall, it affected him in multiple ways during his freshman year in college.

“I was stressed. I didn’t eat. I looked ill. It was bad,” Hall said.

Many people seek a healthy lifestyle. However, the first year of college tends to challenge even those most devoted to a healthy lifestyle. Stress levels rise and the most common cures are relaxation and food.

Gaining weight during the first year of college is proven. “Freshman 15” can be real.

“I would not put a specific weight on it; it’s a generalization, but it’s almost a guarantee that you will gain weight your freshman year,” said Trevor Mason, a Bellarmine senior who gained unexpected weight his first year of college.

In 2014, “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2014” study concluded the number of students who “felt overwhelmed” rose to 34.6 percent from 27.1 percent five years prior.

Not only does the first year of college help determine your academic pipeline, but also your health habits. Health habits worth considering are in the next study.

32 studies from 1980-2014 were conducted on early onsets of obesity and weight gain. The studies collected data from 5,549 students. University students were studied in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Belgium.

Results indicate that roughly 60 percent of freshmen gain weight during the transition from high school to college. The average amount was 7.5 pounds. These studies and hundreds of others conclude that freshmen are likely to gain weight, but most will not come close to gaining 15 pounds.

Research shows that gaining weight is not necessarily the issue, but how fast it is gained is. Noticing high anxiety levels, creating a late night ritual for relaxation or taking a walk are ways to combat the onset of unhealthy habits. Allison McReynolds, a freshman, said she can’t see herself gaining 15 pounds because of Bellarmine’s infamous hills.

“Bellarmine has a very unlikely rate for gaining 15 pounds because the layout of the campus,” she said.


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