Podcast, Weight Change, Freshman, Stigma, Health, Mental Health, Eating Disorders, Food, Social Media


Medicine and Health Sciences


Anna Hammersmith


The Freshman 15: The Who, What, and How it Harms Us is a publicly posted podcast on the harms of the phrase "The Freshman 15" to student health. This project consists of three episodes, each with a different main focus. The first episode covers what "The Freshman 15" is, the history of its origins, and the reality of the term. It also covers why this term affects freshmen specifically and the unique stressors of the transition from high school to college. The second episode covers the stigma around weight and food in the US. It delves into the fatphobia embedded in our society and media and the harm it causes. The third and final episode covers the weight shame of the COVID-19 pandemic and how fatphobia harms us all. It also covers the role of families and peers in body image and what we can all do to take care of each other and fight back against weight stigma. I made this podcast because I see people using the phrase "The Freshman 15" often, as though it is harmless or a joke. I am passionate about showing students, their families, and university faculty and staff that this phrase has the power to do real harm.