How to have a healthy freshman year by UofL Health Louisville KY

You’re on your own and facing a new set of opportunities and challenges. Being at college is a good time to not only increase you knowledge, but create a new set of healthy habits.

Many parents and students have heard of the “Freshman 15,” referring to the average weight gain of a college freshman. This is an urban legend. In fact, studies indicate that there is a slight weight gain between 2-4 pounds on average for a college freshman.

Today, college campuses provide a wide range of dietary options for their students who want healthier options or have special dietary needs or restrictions such as vegetarian or kosher. Increasingly, freshmen are required to live on campus, making meal plan choices critical. Make sure you explore and understand all of the dining options available such as buffets, specialty outlets and grab-and-go options on campus.

The nearest food service location may not be the best choice or value. When in a cafeteria or buffet situation, a well-balanced plate should be ½ vegetables, ¼ meat and ¼ complex carbohydrates. Just because mom and dad aren’t around doesn’t mean you should eat as much as you can of your favorite pizza or ice cream. [tweetthis tweet=”The freshman 15 is a myth (for most), but you still need healthy habits at college. “]

Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Walk instead of taking a campus bus. Use the stairs rather than an elevator or escalator. Finally, there are great recreational facilities on most campuses that are free with your tuition. If you want more, find an exercise buddy or participate in one of the many intramural sports activities.

This is the second post in a three-part series. Click here to read the first post on the vaccines you need for college.

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Phillip Bressoud, M.D.

Dr. Phillip Bressoud is the executive director for Campus Health Services and associate professor of Medicine at the University of Louisville. He serves as the physician champion for electronic medical records at UofL Physicians. He received his bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of Kentucky and his medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He completed his residency in internal medicine at UofL and served as chief resident prior to joining the faculty. He is board-certified in internal medicine and holds a certificate in clinical informatics. He currently is the governor of the Kentucky Chapter of the American College of Physicians.

All posts by Phillip Bressoud, M.D.
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