A mother has told how her sporty daughter gained weight during the lockdown – and now she can’t find a school uniform to fit her 12th frame.
Lorraine Emmins was working her £14,000-a-year job, taking care of three children at home and cooking meals on a tight budget through the pandemic.
A 41-year-old cleaner from Halston, Cornwall, says her 10-year-old daughter, Leah, gained weight because of being trapped in the house.
Lorraine explained: “She’s always been a big kid.
“I noticed that she was gaining weight earlier in the lockdown. She was more on the computer for home schooling and more TV watching.
“I know the kids were overeating.
“We took Liha to the vet, but they said it was puppy fat and she should get more exercise.
“She runs, plays and participates in school games.
“When her dad does DIY, he helps her paint, mow the lawn, and wash the sidewalk.
“She’s a big eater but I always try and make sure the kids eat healthy foods.
“We are doing everything we can to help her manage her weight.”
Her other children, 24-year-old Jade, a cleaner, 12-year-old Tina and five-year-old Rhea, are all average-sized.
But now Leah, who weighs 11th 9lbs, has not been able to find a uniform that fits.
She could previously wear the largest size of 14-15 year olds, but now even older is not big enough.
Children in England have been getting older for decades, with one in three primary school children being overweight, and the Association of UK Dietitians believing their waistlines have gotten bigger during the pandemic and lockdown.
This means families like Lorraine must go to specialist shops and pay nose-to-nose for uniform fittings.
Spent hours searching online and found a size 20 bottle green gingham dress for Leah – the last available.
A dressmaker added panels to the sides to expand it, bringing the total cost to over £50.
Leah, who is classified as very overweight, has found 24 gray women’s skirts on eBay as well as XXXL polo shirts and stretch jersey size 24 trousers that have been scaled down for her.
Lorraine said: “I know there are thousands of other parents with plus-size kids who are afraid to ask for help because they fear they will be shamed and bullied.
“Liha loves school. I don’t want him to be bullied because he doesn’t have the right uniform or has been trolled.”
Liha said: “I am proud of my uniform and all I need is one that fits. I know a lot of other kids will have the same problem.”
Additional reporting: Elle Einstein