With obesity rates skyrocketing, British retailer High and Mighty is now meeting demand by stocking its stores with the largest clothing size ever made: the XXXXL. Expanded shirts fit men with 64-inch (163 cm) chests, pants fit 60-inch (152 cm) waists.
"We are leading increasingly sedentary lives," explained John Murphy, director of retail operations at High and Mighty, to UK-based Telegraph in an October 31 report. "It is hard for parents to keep their children away from the television or the computer, and the consequences of that are visible."
According to a recent survey by the World Health Organization, 61 percent of the population in the UK is overweight, compared to almost 67 percent in the United States. Twenty percent of British men now have a waist size larger than 38 inches (97 cm), and a chest size larger than 44 inches (112 cm), reports
As obesity becomes more mainstream in the UK and US, plus-size clothes are a booming market. High and Mighty reportedly plans to increase the number of its retail stores from 14 to 25 within the next three years.
Other UK retailers are targeting teens and children needing expanded garments. Retailers Next, George at Asda, and Monsoon offer clothes to fit obese children, while this summer Marks & Spencer started selling school uniforms with 41-inch (104 cm) waists. In the US, major retailers sell plus-size clothing alongside normal sizes, and specialty retailers such as Torrid, which ships internationally, offer trendier options for obese teenagers.
"This is horrifying and just goes to show that we have a huge problem," said Tam Fry, spokeswoman for the UK-based National Obesity Forum, of the plus-size trend. "The public health implications are huge, and it is going to take a generation or more to tackle this crisis."