A recent nationwide study found that the shared student experience of the "freshman 15" is nothing more than a myth. In reality, women gain 2.4 pounds and men gain 3.4 pounds on average, according to the study. The study, conducted by Jay Zagorsky, an Ohio State University researcher, and Patricia Smith, a professor of economics at the University of Michigan at Dearborn, pulled data from National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, which cataloged statistics, including weight, of more than 7,000 people age 13 to 17. The participants have been interviewed every year since 1997. The study results showed that college students gain weight slowly throughout college, and no more than 10 percent of all college freshman actually gained 15 pounds or more.
"Repeated use of the phrase “the Freshman 15,” even if it is being used just as a catchy alliterative ﬁgure of speech, may contribute to the misperception of being overweight, especially among young women," the study states.
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