UK Clothing Retailer Launches Plus Sized Clothing For Children
In a controversial move, high street retailer NEXT has introduced a ‘plus sized’ range of clothing to it’s children’s department.
The new, larger clothing range is for both boys and girls aged between three and 16 years of age. The capsule collection consists of 47 items, including school wear such as trousers, skirts and shirts. As well as the extra inches added to waistbands, shirts will be made from a ‘stretch cotton blend’ for extra give.
An ‘age three plus fit’ pair of trousers have a waistband of 58cm which is five centimetres larger than standard. The ‘age 10 plus fit’ trousers have a waistband of 69cm in size, compared with a 64cm measure on standard age 10 trousers.
Tam Fry, chief executive of the National Obesity Forum, said: “Next isn’t setting a new trend, they are catering for the market. Mothers wanting to clothe their fat children just can’t find the clothes for them. They are responding to the current state of affairs. It has been in a bad state for a long time but this just shows it has now gone beyond the point of a crisis. The UK is sitting on a time bomb of childhood obesity, children are several times fatter than they were in 2002.”
The decision to launch ‘plus fit’ has been met with concern by some parents. They are worried the new range will encourage unhealthy habits. Recent data from the National Child Measurement Programme for England already found that childhood obesity is at epidemic proportions with one in three 10-11 year-olds classed as overweight or obese in 2015-16.
Professor Russell Viner, officer for Health Promotion at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, says the recent clothing launch is a cause for concern.
‘Parents need to be able to buy comfortable clothes for their children, however it’s pretty shocking that clothes retailers are having to introduce plus sizes for children,’ he said.
‘Sadly though it’s not surprising – we’re seeing children younger and younger struggling with their weight. Frighteningly one in five are overweight or obese when they start primary school, rising to one in three when they leave. This is another example of obesity becoming a “normal” part of childhood when it shouldn’t be. We need to carefully balance not stigmatising obese children and young people without accepting that obesity is just a fact of life.’
With the government looking at introducing a sugar tax in the near future there is no doubt obesity is definitely on the political agenda.
‘Government must get tough on advertisers and stop junk food being advertised at children during family TV shows, the value of healthy eating should be on the agenda in schools, and physical activity needs to be a core part of every child’s life,’ Viner continued.
When asked about the introduction of the plus sized rage, a representative for Next said, ‘They were introduced to cater for children with different size waist and hips, taking into account that children come in all different shapes and sizes.’