Weight Gain in College

Weight gain in college is a big issue in America due to busy lifestyles, lack of exercise, stress, easier access to fast food, and larger calorie intake. Students today are faced with the serious reality of unwanted weight gain as they enter college. College weight gain can become a big problem and later lead to Obesity. When students enter college most of them leave sports behind them. These students that were used to practicing five or more times a week for hours at a time are now left with no responsibility to be active.

If you put this with the hectic schedule that most college students deal with, it begins to make sense why most freshmen’s don’t even make time to find the gym or set aside time to work out, let alone doing it regularly! A college student’s life is busy. Between classes, social events, work and sleep, many students have little time to exercise. Although it is important, exercise often takes a back seat to other things in life, and this is the case for college students.

If you have a full schedule of classes, you may not have the time or money to commit to an expensive gym membership. And if you’re eating all of your meals at a college cafeteria, it may be even more challenging to stay in shape. Many students do not get the appropriate exercise due to not having a gym in close proximity to their home or dorm. They also choose to do other activities such as hanging out with friends and going to parties. Whether they choose not to go to the gym or just don’t have the time; they are not giving their body a chance to fight off unwanted weight.

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According to an article in Livestrong Magazine even the most competent student can feel stress associated with the crunch time near midterms, final exams, and term papers. Being away from home, forming new friendships and missing old ones, and work can cause stress. Stress itself can cause weight gain but usually it causes students to binge eat . Everyone knows what binge eating does. It causes weight gain. Not just a small amount of weight but several pounds. College life encourages an increase in the calorie intake of students.

Colleges are filled with social events and social events usually equal FOOD! Most college cafeterias serve their food buffet style, and when given the opportunity to have unlimited amounts of food most people automatically overeat. A big saying that is well known is “Your eyes can play tricks on your mind when it comes to eating”. Fast food, while loaded with calories, is cheap so it appeals to the budget of a college student. So college students are more likely to go for the cheaper food even if it is not healthier. College students do a lot of studying.

When you are studying for long hours this often leads to snacking. College students don’t usually choose healthy snacks; more than likely they are eating junk food because it is fast. Blended coffee drinks and smoothies are a big thing today in a college student’s diet even though these items are often packed with more calories than a regular meal. College students are well known for crashing their metabolism by poorly managing their diets. This occurs when a student eats too few meals, and ends up eating extra-large meals once or twice a day instead of proportioned meals throughout the day.

A common metabolism killer of college students is skipping breakfast, the most important meal of the day as it starts a person’s metabolism up in the morning. Eating late at night is another well-known metabolism killer of college students. According to The Atlantic, researchers at Oregon State University who surveyed nearly 600 college students, about their eating habits, found that most weren’t even eating one serving of fruits or vegetables a day. The survey found that male students consumed more calories from fat and ate less healthy foods overall than did female students.

Males averaged about five servings of fruits and vegetables a week(Frederick). Unless they stay close to home, many college freshmen do not get a home cooked meal very often. Between fast food, cafeteria cuisine, and midnight snacks, it is easy to pack on the pounds. Unhealthy snacking and calorie-loaded foods lead to extra pounds, and over time it can lead to serious weight gain (Braddock). If college students are worried about gaining weight they need to break the cycle. If students are not careful it is easy to lose good habits they learned at home and reinforce bad ones (Oz, Daphne).

Poor diet, lack of exercise, and stress are huge parts of a college student’s life. Understanding which of these risk factors are problems, for you, is critical to reversing the trend (Braddock). Although students’ lives can be very busy it is vital to get plenty of rest and exercise. The average amount of sleep a person needs is eight hours. When students are trying to cram for a test or exam they rarely get the eight hours of sleep needed. When you’re scrambling to meet the demands of college life, cutting back on sleep can seem like the only answer.

How else are you going to get through your never-ending to-do list or make time for a little fun? Sure, a solid eight hours sounds great, but who can afford to spend so much time sleeping? The truth is you can’t afford not to. Most of the time students are lucky to get four or five hours of sleep. This puts a strain on their body and can cause them to put on extra pounds. To avoid this extra weight students’ need to set aside time for studying so that they are not cutting into their sleep schedule.

A good diet is also very important. A good way to avoid weight gain is invest in healthier snacks for those late night study sessions and throughout the day. Making sure to eat a healthy breakfast is a good start to a productive day and your brain. Squeezing in a trip or two to the gym each week, or taking up an active hobby such as biking or jogging is also a good way to help keep off the pounds. There are many small things students can do to add some exercise or activity to their day that are not costly.

If students live close to campus they can walk to class instead of driving. Take stairs when giving the option instead of elevators. If they have to eat cafeteria food choose the healthiest options and small proportions. Don’t overeat this will just make you feel tired and sluggish; not to mention having to exercise more to get rid of those extra calories. College students have a lot of things that vary on their weight gain. Getting the adequate sleep, exercise, and appropriate diet can mean a lot when it comes to staying fit.