You don't even need to gain the full freshman 15. Putting on as little as 1.5 lbs. a year is enough to raise blood pressure for someone of college age, according to the University of Illinois study.
"In our study, a small weight gain was enough to raise a college student's systolic blood pressure by three to five points. If young people continue to gain 1.5 pounds a year and think it doesn't matter, they're misleading themselves and increasing their risk for heart disease," Margarita Teran-Garcia, a professor of food science and human nutrition, said in a press release.
Researchers looked at 796 participants between the ages of 18 and 20 for one year. Those who put on weight experienced higher blood pressure.
Teran-Garcia said doctors should take these small health changes in young adults more seriously.
"There are very few programs that make college-age people aware of the health problems associated with even small weight gains and encourage them to make lifestyle changes to combat it. Physical activity is important, and many young adults are not getting the recommended 30 minutes to one hour a day of exercise," she said.