Girls' waists grow 8cm in 30 years

Waistlines of girls starting secondary school are more than 8cm larger than those of their counterparts 30 years ago, a study released today shows.

Their male classmates have waistlines nearly 7cm bigger and chests nearly 8cm bigger than 11-year-old boys three decades ago, according to Shape GB's National Childrenswear Survey.



The part publicly-funded survey is based on data from more than 2,500 children aged four to 17, who were measured with 3D body scanners in 2009-10.



The results show how children's' body shapes have ballooned since the last major survey, which was released by the British Standards Institute in 1990 and based on measurements taken from more than 8,300 children in 1978.



An average 11-year-old girl today is 148.78cm tall, compared with 146.03cm in 1978 - an increase of 2.75cm or 1.88%.



But her waistline is on average 70.2cm, the Shape GB survey found, compared with 59.96cm in 1978.



Because the 3D scanner does not compress the skin like a tape measure does, and the scanner also measures the small of the back, it produces width measurements around 1.9cm larger than a tape measure.



Even accounting for that difference, the average 11-year-old girl's waist has increased by 8.34cm or 13.9%.



Today's results put her hip measurement at 81.78cm, compared with 77.81cm in 1978, and chest at 78.4cm, compared with 71.31cm in 1978.



The average boy of 11 now stands 148.18cm tall, up from 144.63cm in 1978 - a 3.55cm or 2.45% increase.



His chest is 78.45cm, compared with 68.76 in the 1978 survey. When the differences in measuring method are accounted for there is still a 7.79cm, or 11.33% increase.



His waist has also expanded, from 61.49cm on the average 1978 boy to 70.02cm today, and his hips are 80.21cm, compared with 73.22cm in 1978.



Select Research, the company who managed the survey, said the scans, which recorded nearly 200 different measurements per child, also showed that boys and girls' body shapes differed before the age of seven, contrary to many retailers' assumptions.



They said that many clothes currently labelled for five-year-old boys were based on them being 110cm tall, while the data shows the average as 115cm.



The Shape GB data is being used by sponsoring retailers Next, Monsoon, Shop Direct and George at Asda to design clothes.



It is also to be used in the development of a 'Body Volume Index' (BVI) for children as an alternative scale to Body Mass Index (BMI), which relies on simple height and weight measurements.



Richard Barnes, MD of Select Research, said it was too early to draw conclusions on childhood obesity trends from the data.



He said: "The increases in waist circumference since 1978 show that children have got bigger. However, increases in height and chest size show that children in the UK have grown over the years in many ways.



"Using BMI to measure obesity in children should not be relied upon as an accurate indicator of risk to health as both components, height and weight, are variables.



"Measuring body shape in 3D and where a child's weight is distributed may provide us with new insights on the actual risk to health and change perceptions of what health interventions are required.



"Shape GB is a survey for retailers, but we will be using the data in due course to develop BVI thresholds for childhood obesity."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

    £16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

    £27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

    £19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

    Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

    Day In a Page

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor