Fighting the ‘freshman 15’

December 9, 2015

By Jan Jarvis

Brandy Roane

 

College students typically blame too much fast food for the famous freshman 15.

But research from UNT Health Science Center suggests that weight gain in college has as much to do with when you go to bed as what you eat for dinner

Fluctuating sleep patterns, a common condition of college life, predicted weight gain during the first semester of college, said Brandy M. Roane, PhD., Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and lead author of a study in the Journal of Behavioral Sleep Medicine.

As part of the study, 132 freshmen at Brown University self-reported their sleep habits in a sleep diary. The data was analyzed and compared to their weight gain.

The average bedtime was 1:30 a.m. and the average wake time was 9 a.m. But the bed times and wake times of freshmen men varied far more than for women, shifting daily by an average of 2 hours, 37 minutes.

“Boys who had the greatest fluctuations in sleep duration were the most likely to gain weight,” Dr. Roane said. “And even though the weight gain was less than the ‘Freshmen 15,’ for the girls it was enough to change their clothing size and for boys their waist size by an inch. So the clothes these students brought to school with them wouldn’t fit by the end of the semester.”

In analyzing the data, Dr. Roane considered that college students have wildly fluctuating schedules and girls tend to get up earlier, due to the “primp factor.” She also noted that all of the students lived on campus and walked to classes, but this daily activity did not prevent weight gain.

The students gained an average of a half-pound a week in the course of the nine-week study.

“The average adult gains one pound a year,” Dr. Roane said. “These guys gained 5 pounds in nine weeks.”

To reduce the risk of gaining weight, students might want to keep their sleeping schedule more structured, Dr. Roane said.

“Pick a time to wake up and stay with it,” she said. “If students could reduce the variability in their sleep it is likely they could reduce their weight gain, too.”

Pa Fc
PA students maintain 100 percent pass rate on national exam

By Alex Branch   For the fourth straight year, every graduate of the Physician Assistant Studies Program at UNT Health Science Center passed the national certification exam on the first attempt – the second- longest streak among the eight programs in the state of Texas. Maste...Read more

Oct 16, 2018

Sparks Fc
TCOM alum honored for project about home births

By Alex Branch   A UNT Health Science Center graduate won a national leadership award for creating an educational web resource to help patients who are considering a home birth. Chandler Sparks, DO, MPH, a 2018 graduate of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and a Rural Scholar, ...Read more

Oct 15, 2018

default photo
Patient advocate and researcher honored with 2018 Health Literacy Hero award

By Sally Crocker Dr. Teresa Wagner’s own experiences as a mother trying to help her daughters through two life-threatening health scares, misdiagnosis and providers’ failure to recognize critical symptoms ignited her passion to lead the charge for improved patient health literacy and better c...Read more

Oct 11, 2018

Cows
The pets (and people) of UNTHSC

By Jan Jarvis  Whether it’s a feline friend or a gregarious goat, pets play a unique role in people’s lives – including those who work at UNT Health Science Center. Here we feature people from across campus, and the pets that light up their lives. J.D. the bull; Egeenee Daniel...Read more

Oct 10, 2018