One of the first things they may gain from the experience is the "freshman 15."
Fifteen pounds, that is.
That's because, for the first time, they're on their own.
"If you want to eat one meal a day or 10 meals a day, that's how you do it," said Dr. Don Buckland of U.S. Healthworks in Phoenix. "Or if you want to eat only at midnight, that's how you do it. All of those things can really add on the pounds."
Buckland said there are several things they can do to avoid this. One is stocking the dorm room with fruit and other healthy things to eat, instead of going for the junk food. Reaching for a bag of potato chips to deal with the stress of an upcoming test is a bad idea. Stress could be better dealt with through mental breaks or exercise, he said.
Breakfast is important, too.
"Everyone who is overweight skips breakfast, and it just makes them more overweight," Buckland said. "The reason is that you tend to eat more to make up for skipping breakfast."
He said to limit the number of soft drinks, which can run as high as 200 calories apiece. As a substitute, Buckland offered his favorite drink recipe.
"I just pour about an inch of orange juice into a glass of ice water," he said. "That gives some taste, gives some electrolytes, it gives some fluids, has almost zero calories, and it also costs less!"
The doctor also suggests avoiding the late night pizza or so called "fourth meal" at a favorite fast food restaurant.