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Freshmen Fifteen: An Inescapable College Epidemic?

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Essay title: Freshmen Fifteen: An Inescapable College Epidemic?

Freshmen Fifteen: An Inescapable College Epidemic?

Six months ago, she stood in front of her mirror, examining her body closely. Her stomach was flat and smooth, her waistline was to die for, and her friends and even complete strangers wished they had her shape in her size five jeans. She never had to work out, never played any sports, and she did not know what a squat was. She was happy and confident as her scale read 120 pounds. She smiled at the reflection of herself. She proudly wore her Seton Hall tank top and loved the feel of it. Six months later, she examines herself again. Her stomach has a little bulge and her hips spread slightly. Her skin hangs over her jeans, enticing her friends and family to laugh and pinch at it. The button on those size five jeans always comes undone when she sits down, consequently causing an open fly to embarrass her whenever she leaves class. She had to buy six new pairs of jeans, all of which were size sevens and nines. The Seton Hall tank top that she proudly wore before now has a tear on one of the straps and a hole in the back stitching. Her scale reads an unthinkable 130 pounds; she walks around shell shocked, for the rest of the day.

The girl who you have just read about is not fictitious; she is the very real victim of the dreaded "Freshmen Fifteen" epidemic. Why do so many freshmen gain this excessive amount of weight? The odds of staying the same weight are strongly against us.

The first and most obvious reason for weight gain is food. College cafeterias are smorgasbords of hot, greasy, fatty, empty calorie foods. At Seton Hall University, all freshmen are required to purchase a meal plan that comes with various amounts of Pirate dollars that can only be used on food. These Pirate Dollars are equal to one dollar and students are given an overage each semester. In order to avoid losing money, many students use these dollars to buy snacks in between all three meals. At the end of the year, the money is not refundable, so students must splurge once again in order to avoid throwing away their money. Whether students' classes are far apart or back to back, they are likely to stuff themselves because they need to prepare to sit through about 3 or more hours of lecture, or their next class isn't for another two or three hours and they plan to eat and "take a quick catnap." Instead of eating a moderate amount throughout the day, most students eat a large lunch and dinner along with snacks throughout their day. Most students would eat breakfast if they could actually wake themselves up before 10:00 am, but they are to likely to stay up late writing papers or doing homework.. Because they stay up late so often, do not get enough rest, and splurge on the cafeteria food, their weight gain is inevitable. In an online article by Andrea Constantinou, she offers students this advice, "Since being a student leaves not a lot of time to eat, it is better to eat smaller meals spread throughout the day in order to keep your metabolism working and burning fat. Eating a full meal and sitting in class could be very uncomfortable. Try to not eat your last meal of the day after 7:00 o'clock when your body is at its resting state" (1).

Another reason for weight gain is the typical freshmen's lack of restraint. Since Moms are not at school to baby anyone and cook her healthy, nutritious meals, she sends money for students to indulge on take out, chips, fruit snacks, and sodas. When a student diligently studies in his or her dorm, the temptation to devour pizza and Doritos with a Coke is irresistible, especially when the temperature is 30 degrees and they know crackers will not fill them up. It is even harder to say no in this situation when a roommate wants to order food but wants someone to order also to avoid a delivery fee, or when they cannot finish their portion and beg him or her to finish because they do not want to waste any food. agrees, "Food is also used to socialize. Pizza parties, midnight raids on vending machines, and other food-oriented

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