Skip navigation
Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Your Health

Study Shows: 'Freshman 15' is Not a Thing

Say goodbye to "freshman 15." A new study shows students are gaining way less in college. 

Recent research conducted by the University of Georgia shows that college students actually gain less weight than formerly believed.

The “freshman 15” refers to  the weight that first-year students supposedly gain when they enter college. But the study reports that college students gain an average of only 3.5 pounds over the span of four years.

The study analyzed results from forty-nine previous studies and concluded that weight gain in the first year of college is actually less than in following years. 

The study's lead author told the University of Georgia that the weight gain problem is more related to age than the college environment, as the research shows it doesn’t just happen to college students but also to adolescents who are not in college. 

While three and a half pounds is relatively comforting number compared to 15, many USC students say colleges create an environment for students to gain weight with things like unlimited meal plans. 

“I believe [freshman 15] is true,” said Earvin Godin, a senior at USC. He thinks students who are used to eating what their parents cooked face the challenge of making healthy choices at school.  They also don't have the time to cook nutritious meals for themselves. 

Angelica Fullerton, a senior at USC, said an unhealthy lifestyle, including a lack of sleep, also contributes to weight gain. 

Zhenghao Chen, a freshman at USC, said the “freshman 15” is true based on his personal experience with his first month at USC. 

“I have to maintain my weight, so what I do is skipping my breakfast, playing soccer and going to the gym,” said Chen.

For students struggling to find a healthy diet, the Eric Cohen Student Health Center has recipes and dietitians to help with diet strategies. 

Leave a comment

We've Moved!

By Sam Bergum
01/21/16 | 11:09 a.m. PST

Visit us at!

USC Basketball Knocks Off Rival UCLA 89- 75

By Scott Cook
01/14/16 | 12:05 a.m. PST

USC defeats UCLA with stellar play from their Freshmen. 

Holiday Bowl - USC vs Wisconsin Post-Game Press Conference

Su'a Cravens: "It's the players that need to step up"

Darreus Rogers: "It comes down to the players"

Trojans Fall to Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl 23-21

We detected that you might be on a mobile device such as an iPad or iPhone. Sorry, at this time the video box is only visible on desktop computers.