A "plus-size" clothing line for children as young as 3 years old has gone on sale in Britain, The Daily Telegraph reported.
The garments, which offer two-and-a-half extra inches around the waist, are being distributed by British retailer Marks & Spencer.
Health advocates said the new clothing line illustrates the shocking rise in early childhood obesity in the U.K., where one in four children are now overweight by the time they reach primary school — the British equivalent of grade school.
"It is an absolutely tragic illustration of the terrible obesity problem this country faces, and how early in life it starts," Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum told The Telegraph. "People used to dismiss obesity as a problem of the lower classes, but the decision by M&S shows just how widespread the problem is.”
The new line — “cut more generously for larger sizes” — features “boot cut” trousers and other styles intended to flatter portly-proportioned children ages 3 to 16, The Telegraph said.
A Marks & Spencer spokesman defended the line, saying that it was created to meet consumer demand, and he said the line’s continuation would depend on customer response, the newspaper reported.
Recent British reports found that weight gain in early childhood sets a pattern for life, with one study revealing that daughters of obese mothers were 10 times as likely to become obese in adulthood.
Fry has called for a government response to this data.