Obesity and the Cost of Jeans

Image courtesy of moveeattreat.org

Image courtesy of moveeattreat.org

Here’s a conundrum for you: if you pay less for children’s clothes, according to the size of them, why do you pay the same for adult clothes, whether you’re a size 0 or a size 20?

My girls have grown recently (they have no consideration for our bank balance) and so new jeans were called for. Amelie is a shrimp, and as I flicked through the racks of kids’ denim in Next, I noticed the difference in cost depending on your child’s age and, therefore, size.

This got me to thinking – how is it that I pay the same for my jeans as I would pay if I were a much larger size? In some cases, a substantial amount of extra material is being used, so either I’m paying over the odds for mine, or the larger lady is getting away with a bargain.

So, how does this work? And is it because the retail trade doesn’t wish to be accused of penalizing shoppers according to how fat they are?

The government have often bandied about ideas of penalising obese people by charging huge amounts of tax on particular foods, and there are various ethical arguments revolving around the cost of diabetes type 2 and bariatric surgery.Whatever the cause of the weight gain (and I mean the psychiatric cause, for the only physical one is eating too much), there is no doubt that it is draining NHS resources, and it is self-inflicted.

Ditto alcoholics and liver transplants. Alcoholism is a disease, but does the poorly 4 year old get the transplant or the alcoholic? And I don’t say this lightly – my own father was an alcoholic up until his death.

I’ve also experienced the overweight side of the coin, having gained a huge amount whilst pregnant and signed-off work, sat on the sofa with SPD. Luckily I’m a stubborn moo, with (as yet) no underlying psychological issues that cause me to overeat, and I couldn’t wait to lose it again. And I don’t say that lightly either (excuse the pun) because I was 5 and a half stone heavier than I am now on the day that I gave birth.

Whatever your opinions about this issue and its thorny complexities, there is no doubt that we need healthier families and we need to stop pouring money down the obesity plughole. Why are people using food to self-medicate so much nowadays? Have humans always needed to fill the emotional hole inside themselves, and it just so happens that food is now readily available as a drug of choice? What’s the root cause? And how can we afford to fund the effects?

Not easy questions, and certainly no easy answers.


First published in The Portsmouth News, Tuesday 27th January 2015




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