Monitor weight for health

By Sherelle Green

As the fall semester closes, some students, especially freshmen, may notice jeans becoming tighter.

Martha O’Gorman, a family, consumer and nutrition sciences instructor and nutrition counselor for University Health Services, wrote guidelines in 2003 about avoiding the “Freshman 15.” O’Gorman based her guidelines in response to individual students who gained weight.

O’Gorman explained one pound of weight gain per week over fifteen weeks of the semester equals the “Freshman 15.”

Over-indulgence of foods throughout each day could lead to an excess calorie build up. 3,500 calories equals one pound of body weight, O’Gorman said.

Consumption of fresh fruit, dried fruit, trail mix, grain bars and pretzels for snacks are healthier options.

Milk and juice are also defined as good beverages to help control weight gain. According to O’Gorman’s guidelines, the body needs eight cups of fluid on an average day.

Students should try to stay away from alcohol, including beer, said Juan Pablo Jimenez, a junior communications major and general staff member at the Campus Recreation Center. Students also should drink water instead of soda, he said.

Calorie control should not be based on diets that eliminate any food group, O’Gorman said. Calorie control should consist of controlling portions of food and reducing foods that lack many vitamins and minerals.

Sophomore business major Markesha Halbert said the cafeteria food contains a lot of calories that contribute to weight gain.

“When it comes down to it, I think that NIU should have more nutritional foods in every cafeteria,” Halbert said.

Some NIU students said the “Freshman 15” could be prevented if students pay attention to what they eat. Bolanle Akande, a junior education major who works for the Douglas Dog Pound Deli, said many students don’t try to eat healthy.

“You have to watch what you put into your body,” Akande said.

Sophomore education major Alexandria Allen agreed that students are partially to blame for weight gain.

“The cafeteria does have good and healthy food, but you have to choose to eat it. You can’t blame what you eat on the cafeteria,” Allen said. Neither Akande nor Allen were victims of the “Freshman 15.”