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Your college kid, plus 15

By Jennifer LaRue Huget

I spent a day last week touring a college campus with my daughter, a senior in high school. The students I encountered were unfailingly pleasant; lots of smiles, offers of help, generosity in giving directions. It gave me a deep sense of hope for the future.

Most of the kids I saw seemed fit and healthy, though many looked a bit tired and, I have to say, pale. But what do you expect for the end of October?

Among all those fit-and-healthy kids, though, were a few who, if I had to guess, had fallen prey to the "freshman 15" -- or 5 or 10, anyway. These were the ones whose jeans looked uncomfortably snug, whose faces had a moonish quality that didn't quite seem accustomed, who cloaked themselves in voluminous hoodies. As I walked past, and eventually through, a dining hall, I could understand why: The food smelled good -- and fried -- and there was plenty of it.

Thanksgiving break is just a few weeks away. Those perhaps newly chubby kids might be going home soon to see their families and their high-school friends for the first time since leaving for college. Maybe some of those friends will have packed on a few extra pounds, too. But the parents welcoming their kids home, while of course delighted to see their college kids again, might have trouble figuring out what, if anything, to say about their kid's weight gain.

Too much pizza can add on the pounds freshman year. (Photo by Susan Biddle for The Washington Post.)

Does this sound familiar to you? Did your child gain weight when he or she went off to college? How did you react when he or she came home for the holidays? Did you offer advice, or did you opt to keep your mouth shut?

And all you college kids who read The Checkup: What's going on with your weight? Are you worried about seeing your family in a few weeks, when you bring home not only a pile of dirty laundry but also a few recently added pounds?

If you have a tale to tell about the Freshman 15 (or whatever number of pounds are involved), please tweet me: @jhuget. And don't be shy: I may not have gained weight my freshman year, lo these many years ago, but I made up for it sophomore year -- and then some. Let's just say I can relate -- in a big way.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | November 1, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Childhood obesity, Nutrition and Fitness, Obesity, Parenting, Teens  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: FDA refuses to approve another diet drug
Next: Is 1,500 mg of sodium a realistic goal?


I lost 10 or 15 pounds freshman year and didn't gain any until I moved off campus, started driving, was in professional program classes from 8-5 and fending for myself in the kitchen afterwards. Not drinking a lot undoubtedly helped in that regard.

Posted by: cherylot | November 8, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

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