Aug 182004
Authors: Lindsay Reiter

Adam Gabriel came to college wanting to lose weight and afraid of gaining the “freshman 15.”

Although an official survey has never been conducted, Jennifer Anderson, a professor extension specialist in the department of food science and human nutrition, believes that the number of students who gain weight during their freshman year is very high.

Anderson, who offers a for-credit seminar called “Weight Management in the College Years,” came to this conclusion based on how quickly her class fills up. The popular course is designed to teach students how to balance what they eat with how active they are.

It is a common assumption that during the first year of college, due to the new surroundings, abundance of food choices and lack of exercise, students tend to gain weight.

Although there are no hard statistics, one of the major reasons students gain weight is because of the foods they choose to eat.

“The most popular foods in Corbett dining hall are cheeseburgers, grilled cheese and Mexican food,” said James Halligan of student dining services, who works in the Corbett kitchen.

A lack of physical activity also contributes to gaining weight. Most students are required to take physical education classes in high school to keep them active, but in college there are no required physical activities. This causes many freshmen to spend more time sitting in their residence hall, said sophomore Tiffany Baune, a health and exercise science major.

To remain active Anderson suggests that students enroll in one of the classes offered by Campus Recreation or just get outside and enjoy the many outdoor activities Colorado has to offer. She recommends hiking, biking or even rock climbing to stay in shape.

After eating residence hall food throughout her freshman year and trying to stay active, Baune has advice for freshmen.

“Dorm food is like an all-you-can-eat McDonald’s,” Baune said. “Lots of freshmen think they need to eat everything at once. Eat in moderation because it will be there all year.”

Pat Kendall, food science and human nutrition specialist, agreed.

“It is easy to overindulge,” Kendall said. “Because food is so available, be careful to eat the same amount of food as before you came to college.”

Even dining halls, despite the plethora of fried foods, offer a variety of healthy choices to make eating right easy. While fruits, grilled chicken and a salad bar are offered daily at many dining halls, Maggie Suarez warns that too much of anything can be harmful.

“Eat everything in moderation and stay away from desserts,” said Suarez of student dining services, who works in the Corbett kitchen.

Kendall also recommends avoiding late night snacks and limiting alcohol intake, but believes that balance is crucial.

“The most important thing that can be done is to continue to get exercise by walking to class and find an activity you enjoy,” Kendall said.

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