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J Am Coll Health. 2009 Sep-Oct;58(2):161-6. doi: 10.1080/07448480903221392.

The 'freshman 5': a meta-analysis of weight gain in the freshman year of college.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. rachelvz@yorku.ca

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

(1) To use the available research to estimate the amount of weight gained by college freshman during their first year of college. (2) To identify potential predictors of freshman weight gain.

METHODS:

A meta-analysis was conducted in November 2008. The analysis focused on articles published in English scientific journals between 1985 and 2008 available on the MEDLINE, Web of Science, and PsycINFO databases and excluded studies of weight change over periods beyond freshman year.

RESULTS:

Twenty-four studies met the inclusion criteria. Based on a pooled sample of 3,401 cases, mean weight gain was 3.86 (95% confidence intervals [CI] = 3.81-3.91) lbs. Potential contributors to gain were recent dieting, high baseline weight, and psychological stress.

CONCLUSIONS:

The first year of college is a period of vulnerability for weight problems. Further research is needed to better understand freshman weight gain and devise appropriate prevention strategies based on predictors of gain.

PMID:
19892653
DOI:
10.1080/07448480903221392
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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