Requests for outsize ‘school trousers’ sparks obesity debate
A Dunstable outsize menswear retailer has seen a rise in demand for trousers with 44” or 46” waists – for secondary school pupils.
Big Stuff, in Queensway, has had requests for outsize school uniform style trousers for teenagers aged about 14 and upwards.
Owner Mick Radford told BBC Three Counties Radio: “They can’t get their uniforms anywhere else. It’s quite sad.”
He said these young customers cannot find the sizes they need in High Street stores and supermarkets.
A radio debate ensued about the problem of childhood obesity.
NHS Bedfordshire told the Gazette this week that it’s estimated that there are more than 800 obese youngsters aged 12 to 16 in the Dunstable and Houghton Regis area.
Mick Radford said youngsters came into the shop feeling frustrated after searching other stores in vain.
They are delighted to find themselves at the lower end of the clothing sizes at the specialist store.
He told of one youth’s joy at finding fashionable clothes to fit him at the store, on a shopping trip with his mum and gran.
The retailer said: “After they’d finished, the grandmother said to me: ‘I’d like to shake your hand.’
“I asked why. She said: ‘I’ve never ever seen my grandson the way he was today. Thank you very much.’ Obviously, that choked me up a bit.”
Mr Radford told the Gazette a couple of young customers came in needing school uniform style trousers last year, and there were more this year.
NHS Bedfordshire public health manager Craig Lister said obesity figures for Dunstable and Houghton Regis are “below a national average”.
But he said: “It’s vital that we continue work already begun with our partners to tackle obesity, in particular childhood obesity.
“Sometimes people need support, firstly to admit that they have an obesity issue and secondly, about where to go for help.
“There are some great schemes locally, but we recognise that teenagers in particular can feel nervous about what these courses involve.
“Those who do take part really enjoy the social aspect and some even stay involved after their scheme has ended to help and support others. We are continuing to encourage more young people to take part.”
The NHS Bedfordshire team highlighted a range of activities, programmes and guidance available to encourage healthy living.
For the full story, see the October 31 edition of the Dunstable Gazette.
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