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where there's smoke: A building under construction next to the Logan Police Station caught fire from a welder's spark. Damage was estimated at $50,000. / Photo by Gideon Oakes

Today's word on journalism

August 27, 2008

On protests at political conventions:

"The citizens of Denver and St. Paul, and Americans everywhere, should hope officials in those cities already have considered both the constitutional and monetary costs of silencing voices that have a right to be heard. . . . Well-expressed or wacky. Irritating or illuminating. Respectful or raucous. There's nothing in the 45 words of the First Amendment that sets out any such qualifications or limits on protests. Time and again in our history, from women's suffrage to civil rights to tax protests, to name just some, voices first raised in the streets -- to the disgust or disappointment of some -- have led to significant, positive changes in law and American life."

--Gene Policinski, executive director, First Amendment Center, 2008

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'Freshman 15' is real, but students share how they got rid of it

By Jennifer Taylor

May 12, 2008 | As 18-year-old Tabitha Hill walked through the door to her home in Sugarhouse after her first semester at Utah State, her mother let out a huge gasp. Hill looked quite a bit different then when she left home several months earlier. Hill was a little rounder than her mother remembered; she had started to gain the infamous freshman 15.

"I bet I gained 20-25 pounds my freshman year and it was all in one place, if you catch my drift," laughed Hill.

According to sideroad.com, a recent study by Cornell University found that on average, college freshman gain about 0.5 pounds a week.

Freshmen have endless opportunities to eat. From parties to school events to meal plans at the university's cafeteria. Since they're out on their own there's no one to tell them to stop eating. "They don't have five different entrees and five different desserts at home. . . . And we know that the more variety people are offered, the more they eat," says Leslie Bonci, according to USA Today.

With no one telling them to stop, freshmen eat anything and everything in their path. Some don't even know their gaining weight at first; they just notice it or a family member notices it and they freak out.

"When I was a freshman, I had the worst eating habits. I don't think I was alone in this, I think most freshman don't eat the best, there's just too much going on," said former freshman 10-pound-gainer Jennie Schmidt.

Eating is a social thing in college. People go to dinner together, especially if they have meal plans. Once they start talking and enjoying each other's company there's no telling how much a person could eat.

"There's this place called the junction, and it did me in my freshman year," said Hill. "It was such a social environment you would lose track of what you had eaten and just go get more so you can socialize with more people."

Not only are eating habits poor, but freshman rarely exercise. In high school some students exercise and they don't even know it. They participate in PE classes and sports or go outside and play Frisbee with their friends.

According to sideroad.com, "When students enter college most of them leave organized sports behind them. These students that were used to practicing five or more times a week for hours at a time are now left with no accountability to be active. Couple this with the hectic schedule that most college students deal with and it begins to make sense why most incoming freshmen don't even make time to find the campus gym, let alone visit it regularly."

Former freshman Laura Brinton said, "There's so much other stuff, more fun stuff, you can do with their time then go to work out." She said there was never a dull moment when she lived on campus and if she went to work out she felt like she'd miss out something fun.

If freshman could just limit their caloric intake and exercise a few times a week there wouldn't be as big an issue. America is by far the fattest nation in the world. According to American Sports Data 63 percent of people are considered overweight according to the Body Mass Index (BMI).

Luckily, the freshman 15 is not always a constant hindrance, a lot people work most of it off before they graduate. Gaining weight as young adults increases the risk for becoming an obese adult. Once a person gains weight, and loses it, it's easier for them to gain weight again.

"It's not that big of a deal that I gained weight, it's just kind of annoying. All my life I haven't gained anything, and then BAM! freshman year I gain a whopping 25 pounds, but mark my words before I graduate I will be back to my normal self," says 20-year-old Bridget Porter.

Weight gain is not healthy. Gaining weight and especially gaining weight fast both have numerous health risks. Health risks include: diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and an increased risk for certain types of cancer.

All in all, it's healthier to have never gained weight. Incoming freshman should be aware that weight gain happens and be willing to fight a big fight. It's hard to have will power to not eat things that taste so good. By doing this freshmen will reap the rewards of healthy living.

QuintessentialCareers.com gives some words of advice to incoming freshman, "Get enough sleep, take your vitamins, and eat right…Without mom or dad there to serve you a balanced meal, you may be tempted to go for those extra fries or cookies. Stay healthy and avoid the dreaded extra ‘Freshman 15' pounds by sticking to a balanced diet."

Setting realistic goals for nutrition and exercise helps freshman keep the body they came with. For example, a goal could be to only eat sweets three times a week, or not to have soda except for on the weekends. Simple goals like that could make a world of difference.

"Once I realized I put on 10 pounds I knew I needed to do something different. I set a diet of 1,500 calories a day and worked out four times a week. Not only did I look better, but I was also doing better in my classes," said sophomore Sarah Jensen.

Even those who know about the potential weight gain may still see an increase in pant size. Hill said she knew about the freshman 15 before she came to college, but she really didn't have goals set for herself.

"I just ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted," said Hill.

She said setting goals would have helped her to stay healthier. Hill said she's been working really hard to get the pounds off that she gained her freshman year. She said her diet consists of salad, a light dressing, a little meat and fruits and veggies.

"Occasionally I sneak in some chocolate," she said.

Hill's mom gives a sigh of relief as she see's her daughter walk across the stage to receive her diploma four years later. Hill had dieted, worked out and set goals for herself and now fits into her favorite high school jeans. She said, "Sometimes I wonder where my butt went, but then I remember, 'Oh yeah, it's gone.'"

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Copyright 1997-2008 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-3292
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