Only 15 per cent of students did moderate exercise of 30 minutes three times a week, and very few followed the health guidelines for eating fruit and vegetables.
Not surprisingly, over the course of the four years of US college education, the average weight gain was 10 pounds, say researchers from the University of Vermont. More worryingly, 41 per cent of students were obese or overweight at the end of college compared to just 23 per cent who had weight problems at the start.
The greatest weight gain was in the first year, researchers found, with students on average putting on a third—or three pounds (1.35 kg)—of the extra weight at the beginning of their studies.
The real worry is what happens when they leave college. If you're obese when you're young, you're also much more likely to be obese by the time you reach the age of 30, and this doubles the risk of premature death from any cause, say researchers.