I have great news for high school seniors. USA Today reports that average freshman-year gain is 7.8 pounds for both men and women. Many would argue this isn't newsworthy however I believe it is. Why? Because I believe our colleges are directly responsible for the Freshman 15 and in many cases, they deserve praise for this number falling almost in half. Many high school seniors have a very regular schedule. They wake up at 7 or 8am, eat breakfast before school, eat lunch at school, and eat dinner late at night. College freshman don't have this schedule. They wake up whenever they do, they eat when they want (and what they want) and there are many late nights of partying and the consumption of healthy alcoholic drinks (and no I'm not serious about "healthy") or late-nights consisting of studying or study groups which often include late night eating.
The college town where I live, is so service-oriented that our pizza franchises are open until 3 and even 4am. Taco Bell is open until 2AM some nights and we have plenty of other choices which are open 24 hours. Most colleges offer freshmen "meal plans" and many have a restaurant which offers buffet-style unlimited meals. If food was more expensive or less accessible, we'd eat less and be more healthy. Likewise, if gyms were free or required we'd live healthier lives. Not necessarily the free part because I'm a believer in things in which we don't pay for, we don't take an interest in. For instance, when I write the check to our local gym, this is my commitment to going as I now have a financial investment.
Colleges should continue to focus on offering healthier choices and even healthier late-night choices (versus 2 extra large pizzas for just $12.99 at 2:30AM). It's funny how we can have discussions on the Freshman 15 when an even bigger problem (which they also create) is the lack of financial education. The average college student (and yes, I mean average) graduates with more than $20,000 in college debt and the average starting salary is a mere $30,000. It'll take some time to pay down that debt, do the math yourself. I think this is an even bigger problem than just an extra 7.8 pounds. And this is something colleges are entirely responsible for creating and responsible for not educating our young people.