College degree may also earn you extra kilos: study

College degree may also earn you extra kilos: study
College degree may also earn you extra kilos: study

WASHINGTON:  Completing a college course may not only earn you a degree, but also add an extra 4.5 kgs of weight along with the associated health risks, a new study has claimed.

“The myth of the ‘freshman 15′ has been widely debunked,” said the study’s lead author, Lizzy Pope, assistant professor at the University of Vermont in the US.

“But our study shows that there is concerning weight gain among college students that happens over all four years they are in college,” said Pope.

The study measured student weight and body mass index (BMI) at the beginning and end of students’ first and second semesters and again at the end of their senior year.

At the beginning of their college careers, the mean weight of the students in the study was about 66.6 kilogrammes (kg). By the end of senior year, it had increased to about 71.2 kgs.

The extra weight translates to increased health risk. About 23 per cent of the students in the study were overweight or obese as they were starting college. By the end of senior year, 41 per cent were in that category, a 78 per cent increase, according to the study.

Obese young adults are at risk for a variety of health conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, polycystic ovarian syndrome and pscho-social distress, Pope said.

The risk of becoming obese by age 30, a condition that carries a host of health concerns including a doubled mortality rate, is much greater for obese adolescents than for those of normal weight.

While students gained roughly a third of the weight in their first year – about 1.4kgs on average – they also gained in other years, an important finding for the design of behaviour-related interventions meant to help them keep the kilos off.

“These findings suggest that health practitioners should not limit their programming to just that first year but extend it over all four years of the college experience,” Pope said.

While there was no direct connection among the students surveyed between lifestyle factors and weight or BMI gain, only 15 per cent of the sample met the exercise target of 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week.

For most students, fruit and vegetable consumption was also below the recommended intake.

“This study and earlier ones suggest that college students are prone to weight gain that can impact their health in the present and even more significantly in the future,” said Pope.

“An important element of any strategy to stem the obesity epidemic would be to target this population with behavioural interventions over all four years of their college experience,” she said.

The study was published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour. (AGENCIES)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here