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Column: Freshmen fifteen: fact or fiction?

by Hazen Prevention and Outreach Services
Tue, Sep 26th 2017 05:00 pm
Image from myplate.gov
This image illustrates how much of your plate each food group should take up in order for you to be eating a healthy and balanced diet, which is the key to health and weight management.
Image from myplate.gov This image illustrates how much of your plate each food group should take up in order for you to be eating a healthy and balanced diet, which is the key to health and weight management.
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Ever wonder why people go to college, other people always say “be aware of that freshman 15?” Is this a true thing that every new student at college goes through, or is it just an urban myth? Our parents talk about it, all the college movies out there mention it and jokes are even made at summer orientation about how you will not be able to avoid it because of how good the food is. But is all of this true? 

Living on campus you would think that the idea of the “freshman 15” was real. With over 10 different places to eat on The College at Brockport campus, it is hard to go a whole day without seeking out one of the dining options. When you have to meet for a group project, the number one place to go is one of the cafés, where the temptation of getting a quick snack is high. 

As a new student living on campus you have two options for a meal plan: 14 meals a week or an unlimited plan. Going to the dining hall almost seems like a social event more than just getting the food that you need. This results in students staying longer and eating more than they anticipated. On any given weekday, food is available from various sources from 7:30 a.m. until 1 a.m. 

For new students coming from high school, this may be a big change. In high school, you ate when you are told to eat; in college you can consume food wherever and whenever you please. 

Much of what happens on campus can be revolved around a dining option. From an outside perspective, no one would doubt the validity of the “freshman 15” because of all the food options and accommodations on this campus. This outside perspective of the college causes the perceived norm of gaining weight in your first year of college. The real question is: does everyone really gain the “freshman 15” when they get to college? 

The truth of the matter is that this is simply not true. Numerous studies have shown that on average new students only gain about 2.6 to six pounds within their first year. Studies have also shown that about one third of students actually lose weight in their first year of college. The myths and misconceptions about the “freshman 15” are just not accurate and only stress new students out about being afraid of gaining weight. 

If you are concerned about maintaining a healthy weight, or simply want to watch what you are eating, there are a variety of useful tools on this campus. Most of the useful tools are found right on the BASC website. One of the useful tools that it has is MyPlate. Using this tool, a student can learn proper portions when they go to fill up their plate. 

BASC also has challenges every month for students to try are make a healthier option at the dining hall. These challenges range from “going lean with protein” and limiting your salt and sodium intake. Under the MyPlate tab, along with these challenges, BASC offers nutritional talk videos that have a variety of nutritional tips and tricks. 

Another insightful option that BASC offers on its website is a nutritional tracker. Ever wonder how many calories are in a late night slice of pizza from Trax is? Well, this will be able to answer all of those questions. With the nutritional tracker, you are able to search where you ate, what you consumed and how much you ate. Once you plug everything in, the nutritional tracker will give you the nutritional facts of what you ate. 

At times it may feel like the “freshman 15” is true, but in reality it is simply just a myth for most. Brockport offers a variety of food options as well as numerous ways to help track and maintain a healthy diet. 

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