TAMIU Researchers Study Freshmen Living on Campus

TAMIU Researchers Study
Freshmen Living on Campus

Where university students live impacts their weight, eating and exercise habits, according to a new study by Texas A&M International University College of Education assistant professors of fitness and sports, Dr. Sukho Lee and Dr. Kyung-shin Park.

Often associated with the first year of college, the “freshman 15” is a reference to the 15 pounds that female college freshmen purportedly gain during their first year of higher education. The causes for the weight gain range from stress-related over-eating to excessive consumption of alcohol. This new study of female freshmen living on campus adds a different perspective.

In their research, Drs. Lee and Park found that those who live on campus consume significantly higher numbers of calories and more sugar, but engaged in higher levels of calorie-curbing physical activity unlike their off-campus counterparts.

“We concluded that while students who live on campus may consume more sugar and total calories per day, they have a higher level of physical activity compared to their off-campus counterparts. One reason may be that students who commute may experience a lack of physical activity compared to those on campus who have exercise facilities closer at hand,” explained Lee.

The study compared the levels of physical activity and diet pattern between students who lived on campus and off. Forty-three female first-year TAMIU students participated in the study.

One limitation of the study is that it was conducted at one university.

“Additional research will shed more light on the issue. It is an important topic especially in light of our nation’s upward trend of obesity,” said Lee.

Lee presented their findings, “On Campus Living Increases Level of Physical Activity While Consuming More Calories,” at the 121st Annual Meeting of The American Physiological Society, part of the Experimental Biology 2008 scientific conference scheduled earlier this month in San Diego, Calif.

The Experimental Biology meeting is a multi-society, interdisciplinary scientific meeting featuring plenary and award lectures, symposia, oral and poster sessions, exhibits of scientific equipment, supplies and publications. More than 13,000 independent scientists attend the conference.

For more information, please contact Lee at slee@tamiu.edu or 326.2672 or visit offices in the Kinesiology and Wellness Recreation Center, room 220.

University office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu