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Digital tools helping to keep off the "Freshman 15"

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It used to be the "Freshman 5." Now it’s the "Freshman 15." But students going off to college this fall now have new digital tools available to help them stay healthy.

On-demand digital health information being provided by colleges seems to be helping control those extra pounds undergraduates can 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," she said.

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," she adds. "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 everything in moderation.

WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail