Parental Love: Study Shows College Students Who Frequently Talk to Their Parents Stay Healthy

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If you’re concerned about your college freshman heading off to school and falling victim to the infamous “Freshman 15,” which means the long tale of college freshmen gaining 15 pounds in their first year of school, research shows the best way to combat it is to have frequent conversation with your scholar.

According to research conducted by Meg Small, research associate in the Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development at Penn State, college students eat better and get more exercise on days when they communicate more with their parents. “Only a third of college students consume a diet that is consistent with national recommendations,” Small says. “In addition, college students’ physical activity levels decline from the first semester to their seventh semester. Our research suggests that parents may play an important role in influencing their adolescents to establish behavioral patterns that improve their long-term health and chronic-disease risk.

During the study, researchers did not document the context of the conversation between the college student and his/he parent(s); therefore, they’re not sure as to why frequent communication with parents had such a positive effect on students’ behaviors. “It is likely that communication with parents has both direct and indirect effects on college students’ eating and physical activity behaviors,” says Small. “Parents may directly remind students to eat a variety of healthy foods and engage in physical activity. Indirectly, communication with parents may remind students someone cares about their health and well-being, and that may motivate them to take better care of themselves.”

Read full details of the study here.


  1. f.leonard

    May 21, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Very interesting study and may I say that there maybe some fact to it. My daughter just recently finished her freshmen year at college and we communicated regularly and she did not gain any weight or put on the freshemen 15 as they say. In fact she actually lost a few pounds.

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