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How To Avoid The ‘Freshman 15′ At College

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(credit: CBS) Natalie Nyhus
Natalie Nyhus joined the WCCO-TV team in January of 2011. She repor...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We’ve heard of the dreaded “Freshman 15″ — the 15 pounds first-year college students are said to gain when they go off to school.

So is this the fate for all teens bound for dorms and dining halls? It doesn’t have to be, because there are a few tips to keep off those extra pounds.

First, watch the liquid calories. Beverages do not satisfy hunger the same way that food does and calories can add up fast. Plain water is always a good choice.

Eat regular meals and don’t skip breakfast in exchange for a few more minutes of sleep.

Choose to eat whole foods instead of processed ones with a lot of additives.

Get adequate sleep. Sleep deprivation, or getting less than six hours of sleep a night, can negatively impact your appetite and metabolism. Aim for seven to nine hours.

Finally, remember to make time for regular exercise. Experts say to engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 150 minutes per week. They point out that belly fat puts people at risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Interestingly enough, the “15” in “Freshman 15″ is something of a myth. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the average weight gain of freshmen is about half that — 7 pounds.

And a recent study out of the Ohio State University found that number is even lower. Students gained about 3 pounds during their first year of school.

Still, any amount of excess weight can negatively impact one’s health.

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