Dorm With Cafeteria May Boost College Weight Gain

TUESDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) — College students who live in dormitories with dining halls gain more weight than students who have to walk farther for their meals, a new study has found.

The study included 388 freshmen in seven dorms, including four that had on-site dining halls that served three meals daily. All the students had access to two campus gyms with state-of-the-art exercise equipment.

During the school year, females in dorms with on-site dining halls weighed almost 2 pounds more and exercised 1.43 fewer times per week than those in dorms without dining halls. Males in dorms with on-site dining halls ate about 1.5 more meals and almost three more snacks per week than those in dorms without dining halls, according to the report released online Aug. 3 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

While living closer to a gym increased exercise frequency among female students, there was no proof that the distance they lived from a gym affected weight gain, lead author Kandice Kapinos, an assistant research scientist at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, explained in a news release from Health Behavior News Service.

“This study confirms what we as public health practitioners have believed for a while. Location is not only important in real estate. It’s also important when it comes to health behaviors, and proximity of food and exercise facilities influences our behavior,” Jeanie Alter, of the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at Indiana University, said in the news release.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about college freshman weight gain.