Dear retailer: My 'husky' kid is not 'plus sized'

floral pattern young girl dresses in children wear fashion shop

Dear retailer: My 'husky' kid is not 'plus sized'

Health and Safety

Dear retailer: My 'husky' kid is not 'plus sized'

It’s nice to see children’s clothing designers are finally creating clothing for all shapes and sizes.

What’s not nice? That one popular retailer in the United Kingdom, called ‘Next’, rebranded ‘husky’ as ‘plus-size’ on children’s clothing labels.

Credit: Next Department Store

They are doing it for children as young as 3-years-old. They made this move because some health care professionals said childhood obesity has become an epidemic.

“The prevalence of childhood obesity has risen to 9.3 percent in 2016 from 9.1 percent in 2015,” National Child Measurement Programme said in a press release.

Not all thick kids are unhealthy or obese

Credit: Getty Images

As a mother of three boys, I already hate shopping for their clothing because of limited selections.

I have a child who is considered ‘husky’ because of his sheer solidness. He isn’t ‘plus-sized’ by any means. He’s just built like a tank.

The retailer said in a statement that the line is an effort to be more inclusive, but not everyone agrees.

The new 47-piece line includes school uniforms, stretchy jeans, and tracksuit bottoms. It’s described on their website as “more generous through the waist and hips for a comfortable fit.”

Larger than the industry standard

The new line is for children ages 3 to 16.

Their age 3 “plus fit” is 2cm larger than the industry standard of 3cm, and it expands.

I actually love expanding clothing, I buy the expandable waist pants and shorts for my children already!

What I don’t love is my young child being called “plus-sized.”

UK childhood obesity rose from 33.2 percent

Credit: Getty Images

A recent report indicates that 34.2 percent of United Kingdom children were considered obese. This is via Britain’s National Child Measurement Programme.

The United Kingdon’s National Child Measurement Programme is similar to the American Academy of Pediatrics in the United States.

They gather and study child health statistics and changes.

A November 2016 study conducted by the agency, which is charged with monitoring health issues, including child obesity, found one-fifth of the child population was considered overweight or obese.

The study examined children’s medical questionnaires from 2014 to 2015. They were sent to parents via healthcare providers and then returned voluntarily.

Each medical professional provided roughly 85 percent of their cases to the NCMP.

In a press statement, researcher Russell Viner, a professor at the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health said parents need to understand why childhood obesity is a concern.

“It is pretty shocking and concerning that children’s retailers would need to introduce plus sized clothing for them,” Viner said in a statement to

He said that in the United Kingdom, officials estimate about one in five children are overweight or obese when they head into elementary school. It increases to one in three by the time they finish school, he said

Childhood obesity in the U.S. has tripled.

Credit: Getty Images

The United States is facing the same troubling trend.

According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, childhood obesity more than tripled in the United States since the 1970s.

The CDC estimates one in five school-aged children ages 6 to 19 are considered obese. They differentiate between obesity and overweight.

“Obesity is defined as having excess body fat. Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors.” -CDC

It’s calculated using a child’s body mass index.

I checked my son’s BMI using this tool from the CDC.

Even with his girth, his BMI was only 15.6, which is the lower end of the ‘healthy weight’ zone.

Which means 15.6 percent of children his age are around his same BMI. The CDC has four weight categories:

  • Underweight: less than the fifth percentile
  • Healthy weight: 5th percentile through 85th percentile
  • Overweight: 85th percentile through 95th percentile
  • Obese: 95th percentile through 100th percentile

Is a mere two to three centimeters combined with a stretchy waistband really enough to label it as ‘plus fit’?

Watch: Dr. Ihuoma Eneli, explains how to measure obesity in children.

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