Some primary school children need 40-inch waist trousers
Demand for plus-size uniforms has seen a Dublin retailer providing trousers for primary school children with 40-inch waists.
Karen Grant (38), of Grants Uniforms, a retailer on Dublin's Manor Street, said that getting trousers to fit obese children is a major issue for some families.
"We have children who are 11, 12, 13 years of age with a waist measurement of 38 inches," she said.
"For secondary students, standard trousers go up to a 48-inch waist, and larger sizes are available to order."
Grants Uniforms, which Karen runs with her husband, Jim, is the nominated supplier of uniforms for around 40 schools.
It is one of 300 school wear manufacturers and suppliers nationwide who are members of the Irish School Wear Association (ISWA), and it's a busy time for them.
"Some children as they grow up, their shape changes, but at that stage at the end of primary school there is a big demand for this specialised service," said Karen.
"Unfortunately, there is a high proportion of school children who have an issue with weight of varying degrees.
"We would all be sensitive that there are children that are obese that need to be looked after."
Almost one in four children on the island of Ireland are carrying excess weight, according to safefood, the cross-border Food Safety Promotion Board.
Meanwhile, ISWA has been campaigning to have VAT removed from school wear. The tax stands at 23pc and applies to items over a certain size.
ISWA has revealed that Irish school children need bigger uniforms more than ever before, and some parents are being forced to pay the 23pc rate on clothing for children who are still at primary level.
The rate is applied in the case of jumpers bigger than 32 inches and trousers with a waist bigger than 26 inches.
"Part of what we are doing is campaigning to have VAT removed from school wear," said Karen. "We feel that would reduce a lot of parents' bills."
Figures from the ISWA estimate that children spend more time in school uniforms than they do in leisure clothes.
They say the average child wears his or her uniform for 10 hours a day or 1,750 hours a year, and therefore the uniform "must be of a quality that can stand up to the rigours of everyday school life".