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One of the toughest lessons learned in college is the “freshman 15” – the proverbial 15 pounds college freshmen gain during their first year. In reality, many students do gain some extra pounds, but usually not as many as 15. Andrea Anfuso-Sisto, a registered dietitian at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, cited recent studies that show most college freshmen gain an average of 2.5 to 3.5 pounds.
The real danger, according to experts, may be bad habits formed during college that could lead to weight problems in the future. In addition, freshmen who start college with a body mass index in the overweight or obese category “are more prone to weight gain in their freshman year and subsequent college years,” Anfuso-Sisto says. “Unfortunately, this can result in a lifelong struggle with weight and have serious health implications.”