|Farewell freshman 15, hello sprawling seniors|
|Written by Ella White, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Sunday, 28 November 2010 22:33|
Seniors, chew on this. A new study conducted at Indiana University-Bloomington found that college students see their biggest weight gain in later academic years.
Researchers at the university surveyed over 1,600 students regarding their physical activity. They found there was a substantial drop in the amount of daily activity from freshman year all the way to senior year.
“Calories in versus calories expended through activity level need to equal to maintain one’s weight,” Dr. Julie Schumacher, assistant professor in Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, said. “If a student is eating more and exercising less, then weight gain can occur.”
The study saw a large decrease of physical activity for seniors and also found that body mass index and sedentary time increased.
“There are various reasons this may occur for students,” Schumacher said. “Driving to campus instead of walking, more stress, more hours working in addition to studying and choices of meals and snacks.”
The increase in age may also be a contributing factor to weight gain.
“As people age, metabolism may slow down, increasing the risk of weight gain and making it harder to lose weight,” Dr. Jean Swearingen, medical director at Student Health Services, said. “This may have some effect for college students, though the majority would not have reached an age where this effect would be very dramatic.”
However, not all students agree with the study. Their eating habits, class and work schedules, along with their overall lifestyles may be completely different from their peers and other classmates.
“I would say I gained the most weight during my freshmen year. I feel it was because of the choices of bad food in the food court and not enough exercise with the combination of stress with school work,” Kaelob Capel, senior business administration major, said.
A stressful lifestyle with little time to exercise may also lead to weight gain.
The majority of seniors are of legal age to drink and socialize at the many local bars around town, Dr. Schumacher said. Drinking will add calories to one’s daily intake and alcohol does not provide nutrients, other than calories, to the body.
Watching calories and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help offset the weight gain.
“Staying active and exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night and moderating alcohol use are part of this lifestyle,” Swearingen said.