Twenty years ago, the thought of plus size ranges for kids would’ve seemed absurd to most people. There weren’t even that many available for adults! But, as we move into a more body-accepting era where all shapes and sizes are celebrated, plus-size has become pretty common. Now, most retailers have these larger ranges for school clothing and more recently Next introduced their own line of plus-size casual children’s wear.
But is this a good idea? Or do the issues run deeper when it comes to children’s plus size?
The UK’s Weight Problem
It’s pretty obvious we’re not a very healthy country. We have fast food chains in every town, supermarkets constantly promoting sugary, high-fat foods and a lot of us don’t get as much exercise as we should. We’ll be the first to admit that keeping a healthy lifestyle is hard! But the results of this are incredibly damaging.
In fact, between 2015 and 2016, there was an increase of 9.1% on the year before of four and five year olds in English primary schools who were obese, taking the total to 9.3%. That’s a shocking increase! As you move up the age groups, that figure only gets worse. By the time kids reached ages 10 and 11 in that same year, almost one in five were obese (19.8%).
As the years go by, our children are getting fatter. With that comes a wealth of both physical and physiological problems that kids shouldn’t be having to deal with. But with such an unhealthy nation, it’s sad to say that the figures we show aren’t all that surprising.
So, there is a definite market for plus size kids clothing. As a retailer, it makes sense to do it as your main purpose is to provide for your customer, but does it really put their best interests at heart?
Promoting Childhood Obesity?
By providing plus-size ranges for kids, a lot of people would argue that this is catering to an unhealthy lifestyle. Instead of being urged to reconsider unhealthy habits, the retailers are instead allowing it to continue. If we consider our children’s wellbeing, we should be trying to help them loose the weight and become a healthy, ‘regular’ size.
The Other Side of the Coin
On the other hand, we at Kidult and Co can also see the great advantages plus-size ranges will have. A lot of larger children hate shopping because they can’t find anything that fits in the kids section. Can you imagine how damaging that is for their mental health? Being told at such a young age that ‘we don’t cater for your body because it’s not normal’. Every child deserves to feel their best and shouldn’t have to feel ashamed about themselves because society determines only certain clothing sizes to be acceptable.
People should also take into account the fact that not every obese child is that way simply because they eat too much of the wrong stuff. There can be a huge number of issues behind any person’s weight, including kids.
Just as with people who suffer from anorexia, obesity can have much deeper roots than we first see. There could be emotional damage that causes them to comfort eat, for example, or it could be a method of self-harm. A medical condition or medication can also cause immense weight gain, in which case it’s totally out of their control. Should we make these kids feel worse by not stocking clothes for them?
A Tough Decision
At Kidult and Co, we find this a tough one to have any opinion on. On one side, we love promoting a healthy, happy lifestyle full of veggies, activities and plenty of exercise. We’d never encourage an unhealthy lifestyle! We’re also pretty worried about this increasing trend in obesity, especially where children are concerned.
On the other hand, we accept and love every child for exactly who they are, and would never want a lack of sizes to affect their mental health or wellbeing. We’re not ones to stick with social norms (in case you hadn’t noticed) and never fall for silly stereotyping, so we don’t judge people on their size.
Get In Touch
If you have any thoughts or opinions on this topic that you’re dying to share, please send an email to our team or leave a comment below (but no nastiness please – this is a hate-free zone!). If you’re looking for plus-size kids clothing then we don’t have a specific range, however we do stock all of our kids gender-neutral clothes in adult sizes too, so be sure to check it out!