Obesity is no longer just a weighty issue for adults--children now make up an increasing percentage of the growing number of overweight Americans. According to 1999-2002 survey data from the National Center for Health Statistics, 16 percent of children and teens aged 6 to 19 were overweight--triple what the proportion was in 1980--with another 15 percent at risk of becoming overweight. That means there's a growing need for clothing that not only fits right, but also boasts the same style and attitude of its average-size counterpart.
Ruth "Penny" Smith knows all too well the anguish and frustration plus-size kids and parents feel when clothes shopping: Her own son often came home empty-handed and disappointed. Smith, 44, had been sewing some of his clothing and realized she could help others by designing large-size boys and girls clothing. Teaming up with her former district manager from a formalwear store, Patti Herioux, the two started Hey Mom, "It Fits!" in Bolingbrook, Illinois, and have received an enormous response worldwide from their e-tail website.