By Kristina Dougherty

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – We’ve all heard of the dreaded ‘freshman 15,’ and now researchers are saying that college degree may come with some extra pounds.

The study focused on the weight trajectory of students over four years of college.

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Researchers found that the students who remained in the study the full four years had a body mass index that was significantly higher at the end of their senior year compared to the beginning of their freshman year.

At the end of the study, researchers said the sample jumped from 23 percent of students being overweight or obese to 41 percent.

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“The myth of the ‘freshman 15’ has been widely debunked,” said the study’s lead author, Lizzy Pope, assistant professor in the Nutrition and Food Sciences Department at the University of Vermont, according to MedicalExpress.

“But our study shows that there is concerning weight gain among college students that happens over all four years they are in college.”

Researchers say the study highlights the need for weight control interventions to target more than just freshman students.

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“While there was no direct connection among the students surveyed between lifestyle factors and weight or BMI gain, only 15 percent of the sample met the exercise target of 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week. And for most students, fruit and vegetable consumption was also below the recommended intake,” said Pope.