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The Daily Mail is reporting that clothing chains have been forced to rip up their sizing system for children to reflect the fact youngsters are now taller, wider and heavier.

A new template for those aged four to 16 has been devised for retailers to reflect major changes to body shapes over the last 35 years.

Girls of 11 are an average of four inches wider around the waist, while boys are generally bigger through the waist and chest.


The figures add to evidence that decades of fast food, a couch-potato culture and a decline in school sport have remodelled the nation’s youth.

Six of the country’s biggest children’s fashion chains – Marks & Spencer, Next, George at Asda, Tesco, Monsoon and the Shop Direct group – will use the new guidelines.

Full body 3D scans were carried out on 2,885 youngsters across the country to produce the updated size regime.

The last time a comprehensive survey of children’s shapes was carried out was by the British Standards Institution in 1978.

Since then, girls of 11 have plumped up to the extent that the waist is an average of just over 10cm – around four inches – wider at 70.2cm (27.6in).

At a time when many youngsters are going through puberty at an earlier age, the average chest measurement for the 11-year-old girl is up by 7.09cm (2.8in) to 78.4cm(30.8in).

The average boy’s chest is now 9.69cm (3.8in) bigger at 78.35cm (30.8in), while the waist is up by 8.53cm (3.4in).

The figures were compiled by Shape GB, a collaboration between retailers, several academic bodies, clothing size experts Alvanon and scanner experts.

Alvanon president, Ed Gribbin, said official sizing standards were ‘quite outdated’, leading to ‘significant inconsistency in sizing and fit across clothing brands and retailers’.

‘This creates confusion and frustration for shoppers, not to mention a high percentages of returns which adds cost to retailers that may get passed on to consumers.’

He added: ‘Most studies, including the World Health Organisation, cite two main reasons for the fact that children in developed countries are getting larger. 

‘The first is sedentary lifestyles, as children are more in tune with their computers than they are an active lifestyle.

The second is the higher sugar content in many diets. Processed and fast foods are all contributing factors.’ 

The scanning was run by Select Research. Its managing director, Richard Barnes, said the information could be used to find ways to tackle childhood obesity.

The six retailers which participated in the project sell 48 per cent of children’s clothes in the UK. 
Other stores are expected to take up the new guidelines.

2013 Miles in 2013

I am doing my 2013 miles in 2013 challenge in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as I have been surprised since I started fundraising for the CF Trust just how many people are unaware of this disease and so I hope my efforts will not just raise money, but also awareness of the UK’s most most common life-threatening inherited disease.

The first person to commit to sponsoring my 2013 mile challenge has committed to 1p per mile (£20.13 in total) and this got me thinking. I am hoping that as many as possible of those reading this will commit to do the same and the best thing is, if each person does this on a “pay as you go” type approach all you will need to part with is approx £2 just after each pay day. In January I completed 205.9 miles and in February I completed a further 200.9 miles. If you can please spare £4.07 to help the Cystic Fibrosis Trust it will be greatly appreciated.

The easiest way to give your sponsorship is to visit my Just Giving page:

2013 Miles in 2013 – The rules

The rules for my 2013 miles in 2013 challenge are quite simple:

  1. All miles must be completely self powered (no motors, sails, etc)
  2. I must be able to evidence all miles, either via GPS or with a picture of any static gym equipment

To complete my 2013 miles I will be running, cycling, rowing and who knows, I might even try a few other self powered methods along the way.