Study Shows Westminster’s Freshman Women Are Healthier than Most
BY KARLEY LONG
Freshmen’s statistical research showed that the average BMI for freshman women at Westminster is 23, compared to a national average of 26.5.
The freshman women on Westminster’s campus have a significantly lower body mass index than the national average, according to statistical evidence found last semester by freshmen Karley Long and Brendan Smith. Information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that the average freshman female at Westminster is at a very healthy weight.
BMI is a calculation of the weight and height of an individual in regard to overall physical health. It takes into consideration a person’s height and then determines where he or she falls with their weight on a number line. The national average BMI for women in the United States is 26.5, according to data collected by the CDC. The average BMI for freshman women at Westminster is 23.0.
Kathlyn Cooper, a freshman softball player, commented on the results: “A lot of freshman girls are athletes at this school. Overtime, people drop out of the sports they play. While freshmen, a lot of students are still college athletes. I think that’s why the collected data showed what it did.”
The sampling method used accurately represents the data found because it is considered statistically acceptable. In this case, a number was assigned to each of the female suites in the Quad. Long and Smith used a random number generator on a calculator to pick five suites. These five suites, 40 women, were then surveyed directly by the two.
“People don’t normally know their BMI off hand,” said Smith. “Instead, we measured their height and weight and did the math for them.” The surveyors also made sure the results were not biased by physically weighing and measuring each person. This eliminated the possibility of inaccuracy from self-reporting.
“This doesn’t necessarily mean the national data is wrong,” said Long, when asked about the difference in the national average and freshman women’s average. “We measured a young group of women, many who are involved in athletic programs on Westminster’s campus. The reason the BMI was significantly lower was most likely due to the young age and therefore better health of the women surveyed. It could also be contributed to the athletic programs of Westminster College and the previous high schools of the girls surveyed.”
Kristen McMillian, a freshman student at Westminster College, was not surprised by these results. “A lot or freshman girls are active,” said McMillian. “Just looking around at all of us, you can tell that we are a healthy group of young women.”
“Women tend to gain weight after college, once having children, going through menopause, and adopting less active lifestyles,” said Amanda Stevens, a health educator and registered dietitian at Westminster. “Showing that Westminster college female students are at a healthy BMI is great news. Finding ways to adopt healthy lifestyles or continue healthy behaviors past college will be crucial, especially related to eating healthy, exercising, and stress management, key components to continuing at a healthy weight. Westminster does provide many outlets for that.”