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Overweight children

(151 Posts)
netherlee Fri 08-Mar-13 19:50:31

My OH owns a small clothes shop that has lots of childrens stuff (schoolwear, brownie/cub, sports, fashion clothes etc.). He said recently he is rather irked at the number of parents who comment that they have to buy larger sizes (eg age 9-10 for a 7 year old). Sites like M&S are similarly strewn with such comments. The sizes are all in line with average sizes of children or slightly bigger, but of course he doesn't retort that the real problem is the child is overweight. He has also had at least one child needing a smaller size because they are very healthy (usually a very sporty child who is careful with what they eat). Its a lose lose.

So are we BU to think parents should just watch childrens health a little more rather than moan to shop staff just doing their job?

threesypeesy Sun 10-Mar-13 09:03:03

Yabvu my dd1 is 9 very tall 5ft and slightly chubby those who judge are idiots as there may be reasons ours she's just been diagnosed with an eating disorder !! Incredibly worrying and heartbreaking (she's eating in secret and not food ahead gets at home)

Dd2 is tall skinny and all legs shes8 (thanks to mmeasurements for a flower girl dress) has the body size if 4year old!!

Every child is different and have reasons why (ok some are clearly over fed on crap) but not all, clothes sizes can vary widely in shops

Bunbaker Sun 10-Mar-13 09:59:29

I don't know if the posts on here are representative of most parents, but it looks like there aren't many average sized children, so why not make clothes for slimmer children and wider clothes and don't bother with the average size at all.

Sorry to hear about your DD threesypeesy. I hope you can resolve it soon.

musicposy My 12 year old DD sounds like yours and an adult size 6 is a godsend. I used to dread trouser/jeans buying for her, but now she has so much choice.

Interestingly, last year I asked our GP about DD's weight, saying that I thought she was underweight and clothes buying was really difficult because all age 12 clothes were too big. She had a good look and told me that DD was fine and that most children are too chubby. So, it sounds like your OH is right.

I would be interested to know if the larger sizes required are just width or whether the clothes are too short as well. DD is 12 and just over 5' tall and is one of the smallest in her class. OH's family who are all rather vertically challenged can't believe how tall she is!

As a business owner he should keep his opinions to himself and respond by stocking more larger sizes. Although the sizes in the clothes are put in by the manufacturers so it isn't his fault that parents of larger children feel that the clothes are sized incorrectly.

BerthaTheBogCleaner Sun 10-Mar-13 10:09:53

The sizes are all in line with average sizes of children so obviously there are going to be a large number of children - like about half - who will need a smaller or bigger size than the average.

We don't need more educating about healthy eating, we need more education in maths.

Bunbaker Sun 10-Mar-13 10:25:26

The sizes are all in line with average sizes of children

But how many children are actually average size? Shouldn't they use the median rather than the average for sizing?

bruffin Sun 10-Mar-13 11:10:07

If you look at my profile at photos at the bottom my Ds is not chubby his legs were positively skinny. He was also tall for his age but at the time we couldn't get trousers for his height for his waist. They were all too small hence why his shorts are so baggy. It is possible to be too big without being overweight.

orangeandlemons Sun 10-Mar-13 11:24:59

Each generation is taller than it's's just clothing manufacturers haven't caught up. Dd is 6, she takes age 10 trousers and age 11 dresses. My concern is that it is hard to find clothes for her, as the ones in this size are not always appropriate for her age group.

I'm 5 8, dh is 6 2, therefore dd is going to be tall. She was on the 97th percentile when she was born. I don't think they ever change the size of children's clothes to accommodate the changing anthropometrics. I agree with the the poster who said crap shops sell smallish clothes.....I used to be a children's wear designer, it's cheaper to make clothes a little bit smaller, even by .5 of a cm

orangeandlemons Sun 10-Mar-13 11:27:34

Steppe mum, Sainsbury's trousers fit on the waist. Dd has some on today with no sign of a builders bum. Next are the worse offenders in this area ime

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Sun 10-Mar-13 11:32:48

Yabu if I bought my child actual age dresses shed be walking around with her butt hanging out. She's not abnormally tall either.

On the same note waist wise she requires smaller sizes so lives with leggins under skirts. Does that mean I starve my child??

lustybusty Sun 10-Mar-13 11:59:51

Mean (most common) take a sample, (say height of 10 kids), add all heights up, divide by 10, you have your mean (average) height. It is entirely possible for not 1 of those children to be that height, so not 1 child will be "average", they will all be above or below.
Median. The middle number. Take heights of 10 kids, arrange them in ascending/descending numerical order, the middle number is the median (still an average). With a sample of 10, there is no middle number, so you add the middle two together and divide by two. Still no 1 child is ON the average, they are all above or below. (if the middle two happen to be the same height, there will be two average height)
Mode. This is (I think) the least used, and yet most practical average for things like uniform sizing. The mode looks at the most frequent occurrence in a set. So, if in my sample of 10 children I had 5 who were 100cm tall, the mode would be 100cm (regardless of the 2ft 5yo and the 6ft 5yo). This is the only "average" that guarantees to be the most reflective of the "norm", and yet it can return multiple values and also no values (2 kids at 98cm and all kids different heights respectively).
So, rambly maths lesson over, perhaps op, your husband could have a sign in his shop explaining about averages, and you, he and everyone else could learn that by very nature of the mathematics, 50% of the population WILL BE ABOVE average, and 50% WILL BE BELOW average.
End rant.

Bunbaker Sun 10-Mar-13 12:03:57

D'oh! I meant mode not median. I agree that it is the most sensoble way forward.

foreverondiet Sun 10-Mar-13 12:06:00

My son is nearly 7 and admittedly not that tall so still age 6 clothes fine.

But very sporty - he does football (twice a week), self defence, multisport, and swimming, and plays football in playground every break and whenever he can at home. He eats loads, mainly healthy but also snacks as well (don't buy crisps or sweets, and chocolate is a weekend treat, so snacks mainly cheerios/yoghurts/fruit/crackers.) He regularly has a 2nd dinner of toast and nutella a bedtime.

I think he looks "normal" for a 6 year old. But we struggle to buy him clothes, have to buy "skinny fit". Normal fit clothes for 6 year olds far to wide, even when I tighten elastic waists.

But whats really interesting is when he was weighed in reception, he was on 60% centile for BMI - meaning that he is not infact skinny, he is slightly above average for BMI!!!!!

Shagmundfreud Sun 10-Mar-13 12:13:52


There's evidence that the majority of parents with overweight children don't recognise that their children are fat. Even those with obese children often have no idea just how unhealthy their child's weight is. We've normalised overweight in children. here

My SIL's used to complain endlessly about clothes being too small for their obese children. It was always the fault of the manufacturers.

orangeandlemons Sun 10-Mar-13 12:14:07

Ahem....can I just come on an ex children's wear my experience neither buyers nor designers have a lot of experience of children as they tend to be (not always) young single childless women. So quite often, the sizes are made up, tweaked from 20 years ago, guessed at, numbers pulled out of mid air, or it sort of looks ok.

Size charts are available from Bsi, but are hideously expensive. From what I remember nothing ever got actually tried on child to check for fit either. As designers we used to rely on the measurements the buyers, had, but they often relied on ours, and sometimes we just used the factory ones. None were ever standardised.

All clothes are designed for the bell shaped curve, and will fit the 50th percentile of the population, the rest fall at the edges, but are not properly addressed as it is too expensive to cater for them.


orangeandlemons Sun 10-Mar-13 12:16:23

..and also they are designed for the target market, so the specification for say a Primark age 8 is very different for a specification for a Boden age 8. A Boden customer would, say expect growing room and comfort. A Primark customer would maybe not expect either at the prices in Primark

Bunbaker Sun 10-Mar-13 12:25:22

Sadly Shagmundfreud is correct. We normalise many things that we shouldn't - obesity in children and in adults, drinking, portion sizes etc. Too many people just don't like to face up to an unacceptable truth and then accuse the truth tellers of being rude and politically incorrect.

A couple of examples - Just because the average woman is a size 16 (a 21st century 16, mind you, not a 1970 16 which was much smaller) we accept it as being OK when for most women it isn't. For health reasons women shouldn't drink more than 2 units of alcohol a day, but I know many who do and because this is considered "normal" and acceptable they deem it as not being a health risk.

Bunbaker Sun 10-Mar-13 12:26:36

So, which retail outlets cater more for slimmer children orangeandlemons?

My DD is skinny but long. We have to buy trousers that are a size up, and then I have to take them in at the waist. This is getting harder as she gets older as we are now buying 11 yr old's trousers and they are starting to be cut differently (ie to accomodate a bum, which DD doesn't have really yet) and tend to hang wierdly on her.

YY to the thing about brands above though. Expensive makes (like Boden) are cut differently and fit her better these days, whereas that never used to be the case.

orangeandlemons Sun 10-Mar-13 12:31:03

Crickey I don't know now. It was years ago.

Startail Sun 10-Mar-13 12:38:59

What a horrible goading OP.

Strangely all DC aren't 'average'.
Just like adults they are all different!

Some like interesting food, some are stupidly fussy, some like to read or draw and some like to do gymnastics on the sofa.

Yes, my horribly picky, never keeps still DD2 is thinner than her, book worm, food loving older sister.

But it's DD1 who eats the healthier more wide ranging diet, that actually contains vegetables and fish!

DD2 would happily live on ham sandwiches, apples, spag bol and ice cream!

Takver Sun 10-Mar-13 12:44:08

orangesandlemons, that's a really helpful and constructive post.

It sounds like both the OP's OH and his customers both have a point. The manufacturers' aren't taking account of changing sizes and the fact that the median child is now fatter than 20 years ago. So the customers are quite reasonable in moaning. The shopkeeper doesn't have control over the manufacturers, so fair enough that he finds it irritating.

What I find annoying is that adult sizes are getting bigger, which is a PITA if you are an undersized short-arse. I used to be a 10 which was readily available, now I'm an 8 in most places, and there often isn't an 8 to be had.

Sirzy Sun 10-Mar-13 12:46:34

I do think shagmund has a point. DS is skinny but not very skinny but if I don't buy trousers with adjustable waists then they fall down, he has to have them taken in 2 or 3 buttons on each side to fit. To me that suggests that the trousers are generally designed for children who are bordering on overweight.

Takver Sun 10-Mar-13 12:48:07

"Strangely all DC aren't 'average'.
Just like adults they are all different!"

But it is indisputable fact that nearly 20% of children are now obese (not just overweight) in the last year of primary school. All the 'children are all different, my rugby playing son is very muscley' comments are all very well, but I don't believe that 20% of 11 year olds are prop-forwards.

Startail Sun 10-Mar-13 12:49:14

Also DCs have their first teen growth spurt at different times which wreaks havoc with Y5-Y8 school uniform sizes.

It's also bad for the bank balance. A child who shoots up in primary, spends more years in adult shoes and 34" Vat paying uniform than their later developing peers.

Those who shoot up early or who are still tiny in Y8 can be very self conscious about it. They don't need snotty shop keepers looking down their noses, just because it's annoying having to stock a decent range of sizes.

D0oinMeCleanin Sun 10-Mar-13 12:50:54

My 9 year old wears age 11-12 - she can only wear dresses atm, age 11-12 jeans hang off her waist but age 9 jeans are 3 inches too short.

My 6 year old wear age 8.

I could force them to diet but will it stop them growing upwards at such an alarming rate?

bangwhizz Sun 10-Mar-13 12:53:27

Really that's what M&S are saying is it?
M& S have drastically shrunk their sizes.DS2 was wearing DS1s old school shirts but they were getting a bit shabby so I bought some more in the same size (age 14) and they were tiny.Smaller than the erstwhile size 13 s.A similar story with DD2s aged 7 blouses same size as her sisters ( 4 years older) M&S aged 6 blouses

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