Aug 19, 2012 9:00 AM by Mary Elizabeth Dallas
SUNDAY, Aug. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Although the dreaded "Freshman 15" -- a reference to the pounds gained by new college students -- has been revealed by researchers to be a bit of an exaggeration, students should still take steps to avoid gaining unwanted pounds, an expert warns.
Kari Kooi, a registered dietitian at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, noted that most college freshman gain 3.5 pounds, but even a small weight gain should not be ignored.
"Everything from late-night eating, lack of exercise, increased alcohol consumption and an abundance of all-you-can-eat dining halls leads college students to pack on the unwanted pounds," explained Kooi in a hospital news release. She added that gaining weight in college puts students at risk for chronic disease, including diabetes and heart disease.
Kooi said that there are several cost-effective ways college students can eat healthy and avoid gaining weight, including:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about college health and safety.