09/17/2012 04:45 EDT | Updated 09/17/2012 04:46 EDT

Freshman 15: Study Shows That Students Gain Weight After 4 Years Of Higher Education


Grades aren't the only numbers students should be worrying about in first year.

A new study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, has found that in over four years, at least 70 per cent of students gain weight, according to Auburn University.

But don't go around saying "I told you so," just yet — turns out the "freshman 15" is actually the freshman 11. The study found that the average weight students had gained was around 5.3 kg or 11.68 pounds.

“While dozens of studies have investigated weight gain during the freshman year of college and have reported on the so called 'freshman 15,' our study is the first to examine changes in weight, body mass index, body composition, and body shape over the four-year college period,” explains Sareen Gropper, a co-author of the study and researcher at Auburn University in Alabama said in a press release.

The study, which polled 131 college students in North America, also found that females were more likely to gain body fat at the end of the year and males were more likely to gain overall weight.

But not all researchers agree. A 2011 study pointed out that the "freshman 15" was nothing more than a myth and students on average only gained between two to three pounds in their first year of post-secondary education. Researchers also argued that weight gain was due to becoming a young adult and not all those late night munchies and classes.

Others say long-term effects should be the concern of the "freshman 15" theory.

"People don't look at this age cohort as closely," said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health, in an article for the Chicago Tribune. "You certainly can find a lot of data showing that kids today under 18, under 19 are becoming more and more obese, [and] they're moving on to college and clearly admission to college doesn't suddenly eliminate those rates of obesity," he added.

At least one in four Canadian adults are obese so all those late night foods, early morning sugar rushes and sitting around in class for hours can't be helping teens in the long-run. Exercising, adding nutritious greens and whole grains to your diet and catching up on your sleep are all healthy ways to maintain your body weight.

Have you experienced the "freshman 15" or 11? Or 3? Let us know in the comments below:

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