Sorry Sophomores, I bet you thought you were in the clear if you made it through your Freshman year without ballooning into a big fat fatty. Wrong! While the "Freshman 15" is not a thing — actually, the fear of gaining extra pounds is probably more taxing to your body than the weight itself — it seems we had to find some other college weight related thing to freak about. Enter: The Four Year 6.7. See what you get for trying to pursue higher education? A luscious fat ass and better job prospects — that'll learn ya!
However, before you drop out of school to Jazzercise full time, it must be noted that the same weight gain happens to kids who don't go to college. You see, "over the course of four years, women gain an average of 9 pound and men gain an average of 13.4 pounds, but doctors say that's still about the same as those who aren't in school." It turns out our bodies are still growing during that time, so it'd actually be kinda weird if you didn't gain weight. Pretty cool, right?
Interestingly, in the Auburn University study, men gained greater amounts of fat (and muscle) than women. I'd like to see the gains relative to pre-study size; did men and women who started at the same weight gain similar amounts? Or is the men's greater weight gain somehow related to them being dudes? Or maybe they just gain it all in their wieners and balls? Who knows.
Mind the Science Gap's take on the study results is unfortunate:
From the results of this study, weight gain is not only a problem for freshmen, it remains a concern throughout the four years of college. In other words, we need to get away from the idea of "Freshmen 15″ and look at it more like a "College 11″ (if you can come up with a catchy alliteration for this, let me know).
Really? Didn't we learn from the "Freshman 15" myth that we shouldn't stress so much about 10-15 pounds? Like, at all. Yes, college kids (and everyone else) shouldn't live off Skittle-flavored Ho Ho's alone, but most people already know that. Do we really need another imaginary collegiate weight gain monster to haunt our youth? You'd think the Candy Man was actually about some bro who just comes and stuffs King Size Kit Kats down your throat all night. Or maybe that's just a personal fantasy.
Weight Gain in College– does it only affect Freshmen? [Mind the Science Gap]
Changes in body weight, composition, and shape: a 4-year study of college students. [PubMed]