Obese schoolchildren are having to wear adult sized uniforms
1st May 2013
school childMore evidence of Britain’s alarming obesity epidemic was laid bare last night in the latest edition of Channel 5’s ‘Big Body Squad’ series; some children as young as just eleven years of age are now shockingly having to squeeze into a size 26 uniform. In the series, members of society are featured who are responsible for tending to the needs of a nation whose waistlines continue to expand. Ambulance teams, fire crews, equipment specialists and carers are some of the groups who are featured on the programme, which also highlights an emerging new industry that is dedicated to providing specialist care for the obese. So far the series has featured shoe-makers who have to create shoes to cope with larger ankles and feet, in addition to companies using military science to develop extra strong harnesses and hoists to increase mobility for those unable to move around by themselves. The latest episode of The Big Body Squad visited a uniform specialist named Paul Wibberley who is based in the Wirral, Merseyside. Mr Wibberley says he is now seeing parents having to buy size 26 school skirts to children as young as 11 and blazers with an incredible 56 inch chest size. “Nearly all of my suppliers are offering increased sizes and they’re providing larger and larger sizes with every season,” he said. In 2001, Mr Wibberley’s shop stocked just two sizes of school uniform, these being ‘slim fit’ and ‘regular fit’. With one in three children now classed as obese it is of no shock to learn that his shop no longer supplies ‘slim fit’ and instead has been replaced by ‘sturdy fit’ – which 40% of customers choose. Those requiring a sturdy fit will receive elasticated trousers and leg length and waist sizes that are not made with the same proportions as normal fitting school trousers. There is a two year difference between leg length and waist size. This means trousers meant for a 12-year-old will have a waist to actually fit a typical 14-year-old. The maximum waist size is an eye-watering 50 inches. Even more shockingly, skirt sizes at his shop only start at a ladies size 10, going all the way up to a staggering 26, which Mr Wibberley says he has sold this massive size to parents of girls as young as 11. His shop already stocks uniforms as big as 3XL; however Mr Wibberley believes that sooner rather than later, many companies will be starting to cater for those who require XXXXL. Kerry Taverner, an NHS weight management advisor in the area, is alarmed by the high number of people visiting Mr Wibberley’s shop. She comments: “Around 70 per cent of parents are unaware their children are overweight. When I see sizes like the ones in this shop, I find it worrying and definitely, something needs to be done. Culturally, when we see someone who is overweight, they fit in much more now than a few years back.”