COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Seventeen magazine introduced The Freshman 15 on its 1989 August cover for the weight college freshmen gain, but U.S. researchers say it may all be a myth.
Studies suggest U.S. college students -- male and female -- do gain weight during their first year at college but it's more like five pounds than 15. One study found during college men and woman gained about 3 pounds during freshman year while fewer than 10 percent of the freshmen gained 15 pounds -- or more -- and a quarter of the students lost weight in their first year, The Washington Post reported.
However, the study found, on average, students slowly gained weight while at college. For women, the difference between the first day of school and graduation was 7 to 9 pounds; for men, it was about 12 pounds.
The researchers found only one constant in the college weight gain -- students who drank six or more drinks at least four days each month -- were a pound heavier than those who didn't binge drink, The Post said.
However, the Ohio State study also found college freshmen were only a half-pound heavier than their non-collegiate peers, leading to the conclusion the weight gain for most college freshmen might be due to the teens still growing.