Efforts to accomodate obese children raise concern

School furniture companies are starting to adjust their chair and desk sizes in order to accomodate larger children.  Some new desks even have adjustable heights, and the larger seats are strategically designed to look like the normal sized ones so larger children don’t appear different, according to an article on CNN Health.

Chairs from Academia Furniture Industries range from 12 to 19 inches in size. Photo courtesy of CNN.

Furniture imported from other countries now has to be specially-made for the United States.  The diameter of the metal, the supporting structure and the width, depth and height of chairs have to be modified for the American market. The “big and tall” sizes, which are more expensive, have been selling better than the average sizes.

There is also a limited number child safety seats available for obese children, raising safety concerns, and clothing companies such as The Gap, Forever 21, Old Navy and Target are now selling plus-sized clothing for kids and teenagers to provide more fashionable options for larger children.

The question is, should companies use this health crisis as a way to get money? Are retailers providing “husky” fit clothes doing more harm than good? The best solution is long-term prevention, according to Dr. Richard Deckelbaum, director of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University.

And the biggest concern comes down to health.  Pediatricians say growth charts, used since 1977, no longer apply to today’s children. In general, kids are getting bigger on the scale, and are more prone to heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and bone and joint problems.


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