Life-long weight struggles start with the “freshman fifteen”

I talk a lot about healthy weight in childhood and adulthood, but not so much about that in-between time — the college years.

But the fact is, this is a notoriously common time for people to balloon in weight. There’s even a term for it — the “freshman fifteen.” And most people don’t think anything of it. We just figure it’s what happens once young adults are out on their own. And often eating a steady diet of pizza and ramen noodles.

But new research suggests the freshman fifteen may have longer lasting effects than we realized. In fact, the amount of weight women gain between the ages of 18 and 23 is a good predictor of whether they’ll be obese or overweight at age 40.

The authors of the study concluded that patterns of weight gain are established early on in life. And women who gain more than 200 grams (about half a pound) a year during this time should take note.

Half a pound a year may not seem like much, but it predicts a pattern that will persist for decades to come. That is, unless changes are made.

Maybe instead of giving jewelry as a traditional high school graduation gift, we should be giving a copy of The A-List Diet instead.



European Association for the Study of Obesity. “Keeping young women’s weight gain to less than 800g/year could help prevent progression from healthy weight to overweight and obesity.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 2017. <>.