Every new college student fears the freshman fifteen. In some, this fear is the start of an eating disorder, whether it be through starving oneself or over eating. Some argue that if universities would provide students with healthier eating and dietary options, students would not be as likely to develop such disorders.
Colleges have adjusted their eating programs to match the busy “on-the-go” lifestyle of students (Botelho, 2014). According to a survey conducted by Adriana Marie Reyes of The University of Arizona, featured in Botelho’s article, “82 percent said they would eat healthier if time were not an issue.” Campuses are now providing more all-you-can eat style dining options or common fast food chains. These fast options appeal more to busy students because you can eat and go versus going to a sit down eating option. With the new experiences and added stress of college, students often do not make the healthiest decisions. Many believe that if campuses would remove some of these chain restaurants or add healthier options to menus, students would be more likely to choose a healthier meal. To inform students on the foods that they consume, Loyola University Maryland “breaks down dietary information” and provides a dining hall that caters to students’ specific dietary needs (Botelho, 2014).
Some, however, argue that students are on their own, and therefore should be able to decide on their own how to best take care of themselves. Lincoln University began a program where students exceeding a certain BMI would have to take and pass a course called “Fitness for Life” (Sander, 2012). Although the university had good intention, many complained that the program was an invasion of privacy and the program was soon dropped. Many other universities have started similar programs but the were faced with the same challenge: “taking the responsibility to teach healthy living” but also how to go about it.
A third side to the argument is whether or not the freshman fifteen is actually a problem on campuses. According to study performed by Nicoteri of the University of Scranton and Miskovsky of Wilkes University, students who entered college classified as obese or overweight, left their senior year still being obese or overweight. This brings up the question about whether or not more programs need to started at campuses. If no change was seen among students throughout their college years, some would argue that the freshman fifteen is a myth, and therefore, an increase in programs would be pointless. The study also acknowledges that while it is possible for a student to gain fifteen pounds in one semester, the gain is not enough to change a students status to change to obese or overweight (Nicoteri, Miskovsky) . Therefore, as long as a student is responsibly eating in college, weight gain should not be a major fear of a student.
Botelho, Stefanie. “Hungry, But Hurried.” University Business 17.7 (2014): 37-40. Academic Search Complete. Web. 23 Sept. 2016.
Nicoteri, Jo Ann L., and Mary Jane Miskovsky. “Revisiting The Freshman ’15’: Assessing Body Mass Index In The First College Year And Beyond.” Journal Of The American Association Of Nurse Practitioners 26.4 (2014): 220-224. Academic Search Complete. Web. 23 Sept. 2016.
SANDER, LIBBY. “In The Cafeteria And Beyond, Colleges Take On Obesity.” Chronicle Of Higher Education 59.12 (2012): A24-A25. Academic Search Complete. Web. 23 Sept. 2016.