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Perfect Fit

Taking measure of kids' new clothing needs.

In the wake of reports indicating Americans have reached an all-time obesity high--one recent Louis Harris and Associates poll pinpoints nearly one-third of U.S. adults as overweight by 20 percent or more--the demand among grown-ups for plus-sized clothing remains strong. Yet even as the nation's expanding girth prompts apparel manufacturers and retailers to cater to larger adults, there's a market segment being noticeably overlooked: overweight kids.

Whether it's because they spend too much time staring at computer screens or not enough time eating balanced meals, many kids today bear a striking resemblance to the nicely rotund Bobby Hill of the hit animated TV series "King of the Hill." Roughly 15 percent of adolescents and children nationwide are now considered overweight--and obviously, these kids do their share of wardrobe shopping, too. And that spells opportunity for entrepreneurs savvy enough to interweave youth fashion sensibility with size consciousness. Ah, appealing to fashion-oriented kids--no problem, right?

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This article was originally published in the July 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Perfect Fit.

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