Health and nutrition apps designed to help students keep off the "freshman 15"

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August 9, 2013

Students starting college this fall have access to new digital tools designed to help them stay healthy and keep from gaining the dreaded “Freshman 15”.

It used to be the Freshman 5. Now it’s the Freshman 15.

But now on-demand digital health information being provided by colleges seems to be helping control those extra pounds undergrads put on.

Dietician Colleen Dour evaluated the effectiveness of a computer-based wellness program in a study for Syracuse University. The program focuses on wellness and body image, rather than dieting.

The study found women responded better to the program than men. That has a lot to do with how men and women motivate themselves to stay healthy, she says.

Dour says schools do have trouble reaching out to students with their busy schedules. "I think they're struggling trying to get the information out, but students have a desire for nutrition exercise information."

Having tips and lessons on demand is certainly helpful, Dour says. And if students really want it, the trainers and health experts are out there, too. "A lot of times it's just going out and finding what's there. Sometimes it is there, students sometimes have to go out and try to find where it is."

It can be hard for young people to switch from the home pantry to dining halls and the new demands of college. Dour recommends moderation.