The average student gains two STONE in the first year of university – with the main reason for ‘freshers’ flab’ being stress
- A large number of students gain between 14 and 28lb in the first year
- Some gain up to 70lb by the time they graduate, the survey found
- A culture of stress, drinking, and unhealthy eating were the main culprits
- Six in 10 said they had fast food meals between three and five times a week
- A third said they would be unable to cook spaghetti bolognese from scratch
More than a quarter of students at university put on up to 2st (28lb) in ‘fleshers’ flab’, according to new research.
By the end of their university career, nearly two-thirds of students that gained weight had put on between 1st and 5st (14-70lb).
A culture of stress, drinking, and unhealthy eating were the main culprits in putting on weight, according to a recent survey.
More than half of students reported drinking alcohol at least three times a week, with around three per cent boozing every night of the week.
Two thirds of those surveyed describing their eating habits at university as ‘quite unhealthy’ and a fifth described them as ‘very unhealthy’.
Students reported relying heavily on convenience foods, takeaways and fast food, with almost half of those questioned admitting eating convenience foods including ready meals and pre-prepared sauces up to five times a week.
Six in 10 said they had takeaways or fast food meals between three and five times each week. Only a third ate fruit or veg once a week or even less.
TOP TEN REASONS WHY STUDENTS GAIN WEIGHT AT UNIVERSITY
- Eating unhealthily because of stress
- Post drinking/night out eating or snacking
- Binge drinking/nights out
- Pressure to fit in
- Didn’t see weight or healthy as a priority when you were a student
- Food available in university canteens/halls of residence
- Feeling down about being away from home
- Didn’t have the knowledge or skills to cook healthily
- Lack of support available
- Didn’t have the facilities to cook
Students’ cooking skills left a lot to be desired too – a third of respondents claimed that as a student they would have been unable to spaghetti bolognese from scratch.
Around 15 per cent said they would have been challenged to make scrambled eggs on toast, and 5 per cent couldn’t even prepare cheese on toast.
Busy student social lives and tight budgets were also blamed.
The biggest influences on food choices were cost, ease and speed of cooking with only 10 per cent of people saying they even considered their health when deciding what to eat.
Meanwhile, 59 per cent described eating healthily on a budget as either ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’.
Almost all of those questioned said that students needed help to learn how to eat healthily on a budget and 94 per cent said they’d like to see healthier food available at universities.
What do you think? Is there a responsibility for Universities to help students be healthier?