A HUCKNALL firm says the return of children to school this week has pinpointed a worrying problem of child obesity.
Price and Buckland, which is one of the UK’s top school uniform suppliers, claims that the size of school clothing has gone ‘up and up’ in the last few years.
Anthony Buckland, co-owner of the Benneworth Close company, said it was having to cater for much larger children than when it was founded in 1959. “Things were much different back then,” he added.
He said the the number of 46-inch blazers sold by the firm had doubled in the last decade. He added: “We are also selling 48-inch blazers and only a few days ago we had a child in who needed a 50-inch blazer.”
These figures go against national guidelines which indicate that waist measurement for a 16-year-old boy should be 32 inches, while jackets should be about 38 inches.
Adult men with a waist of 37 inches or more could experience weight-related health problems, states the guidelines.
Mr Buckland’s comments were borne out by clothing retailers. These included D&P School Wear, which says parents have been buying larger sizes for their youngsters in each of the last three years.
A spokesman claimed: “I would say that five per cent of our sales are now in that region.”
Earlier this year, a National Health Service (NHS) profile for Nottingham revealed that 22.2% of year-six schoolchildren were classed as obese, compared with 20.2% in 2008 and 21.9% last year.
Obesity in children is a ‘major concern’, according to Sarah Diggle, public health development manager at Nottingham Health Service (NHS) Nottingham City.
“There is an overall national approach to get children healthier,” she added. “Our aim is that by 2020 we will have reduced to 18% the number of year-six youngsters with an obesity problem.”
Professor Simon Langley-Evans, a health expert at Nottingham University, called on the food industry to help combat child obesity.
He stressed: “Foods high in sugar content should not be sold to children as much as they are.”
Professor Langley-Evans said a trend towards larger sizes in sales of trousers would cause concern because waist-size was the best indicator of obesity.
“Tackling obesity is a key issue from the health point of view,” said Professor Langley-Evans.
If you are concerned about your child’s weight, you are asked to visit www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/index,aspx?articleid=3323