High-street retailer Next is selling plus-sized clothing for children between the ages three and 16.
Offering larger waistbands to accommodate kids of all shapes and sizes, the move has been hailed inclusive by many, but for health experts it’s a worrying sign that the UK’s obesity problem is worsening.
Made up of 47 pieces, the capsule collection called ‘Plus Fit’ is marketed as ‘more generous through the waist and hips for a comfortable fit’ and includes everything from schoolwear to jeans and leggings.
Cut to afford more give, the retailer’s ‘age 3 plus fit’ trousers have a waistband that measures 5cm larger than a standard ‘age 3’ waistband, at 58cm compared to 53cm.
Similarly, the ‘age 10 plus fit’ trousers have a waistband of 69cm, while the standard pair measure at just 64cm.
The move comes less than a year after data from the National Child Measurement Programme for England showed that more children than ever before are clinically obese.
It revealed that one in three 10 and 11 year-olds were considered to be overweight or obese in 2015-16 – a figure which experts say is the highest percentage on record jumping to 34.2 per cent from 33.2 per cent the previous year.
“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,” Professor Russell Viner, Officer for Health Promotion at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, told MailOnline.
“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.”
Viner’s comments resound with estimates from the Word Obesity Federation which predict that by 2025, around 268 million children between five and 17 years-old will be overweight.