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Obese Kids Outgrowing Standard-Sized Furniture and Clothes

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According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three children is obese or overweight, and 17 percent of kids in the U.S. are obese. The rise in childhood obesity has pediatricians saying current growth charts no longer apply to today’s kids.

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Schools have had to start equipping classrooms with larger chairs and desks to support children’s increased size. Simply accommodating the kids in need of “big and tall” school desks by supplying them with a separate larger set up means, "their peers recognize them as large, different," said Dr. Phil Wu, a pediatrician who leads Kaiser Permanente's pediatric obesity prevention and treatment effort. Some companies have begun making desks with adjustable heights and bigger seats that look no different than other desks, so that overweight kids won’t have to feel so different from their classmates. 

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The apparel industry has also had to adjust their product lines to include larger size options for trendy styles of clothes. Retailers such as the Gap, Old Navy, Forever 21, and Target now carry plus-sized clothing lines for kids and teenagers. These recent additions are comforting to kids who previously had to buy clothes from plus-sized specialty stores, or be embarrassed while looking through the drawer of extended sizes in department stores.  

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While overweight and obese kids may rejoice at finally being able to find popular styles in their sizes, some believe that popular retailers who provide plus sizes or “husky” fit clothes for children are doing them more harm than good. "Anyone making money off this health crisis for children should be ashamed of themselves. Our kids should be the healthiest, if outside influences were causing damage to our children this way, a nation or a group, we would be at war. ... We should be angry that this is happening to children,” MeMe Roth, founder and president of the National Action Against Obesity, tells CNN.

What’s your take on this issue? Do you think it’s more important to create bigger products for today’s bigger kids, or do you think we need to work harder to prevent kids from becoming overweight (and leave furniture and clothing sizes alone)?

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