Clothes and toys grow as children get bigger

Toy and clothes manufacturers forced to rethink sizing as modern diets make our children bigger and taller

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The size of a children’s play slide has doubled in width over the last 25 years. And it’s not just because of the “obesity crisis” that our youngest generation has been saddled with. Modern diets may have made our children fatter but young people are also now taller and the average body shape has changed.

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Toy and clothes manufacturers have begun to adapt their designs as children’s shapes have changed.

“We’re not saying that children’s bottoms have got 50% bigger,” said Chris Martyn-Smith from slide manufacturer TP Activity Toy. “The children that we are designing for are now bigger than they have been before and that’s very much reflected in a product like our swing seats or our slides.”

The news comes after the BBC reported on a preview of a report about children’s body shapes, due out in 2011. The report, commissioned by clothes retailers Next, Monsoon, George at Asda and Shop Direct, will analyse the shape of children aged 4-17 using 3D body scanners.

“I think it’s fair to say children are getting bigger,” sad Richard Barnes from Select Research. “But it’s not just in terms of weight around the stomach, it’s also in terms of height. We’re not sure whether its upwards, or sideways or both. And that’s why this data is so comprehensive,” he explained.

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The MEND programme, which helps overweight children and their parents have healthier lifestyles has also called for sizes in children’s clothing to be by measurement rather than by age as many young children are wearing clothes for ages well above their own.

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