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27 March 2009 - PR 09/38

National Sizing Survey – the changing shape of the UK’s children

High street retailers Next, Monsoon and George at Asda are sponsoring a national children’s wear survey that is now underway at Loughborough University.

The project, called Shape GB, is the first large-scale project to measure children across the country using 3D body scanners, and aims to measure 6,000 boys and girls aged 4 to 17.

The data gathered will provide a more sophisticated means of measuring and analysing children’s measurements and will identify the differences in height and body shape between children of different ages.

Most retailers are still working to British Standard measurements for children’s clothing from 1990, so the project will provide a much clearer idea of what their customers look like and how sizes need to be changed to create better fitting clothes.

A spokesperson for Leicester-based retailer Next explains: “This size survey will give us invaluable up-to-date information on the changing shape and size of our children, to help us ensure that our garment sizing caters for the needs of our customers.”

The project is being managed by 3D scanning specialist Select Research and involves experts in from Loughborough’s Department of Design and Technology.

Loughborough lecturer Dr Russell Marshall says: “It is important that we support designers with relevant and applicable data on the users they are designing for.  Current size data available for children is at least 20 years old and so we are very pleased to be able to collaborate in the Shape GB sizing survey and ultimately contribute to the development of more user-driven products.”

A dedicated website has been set up to allow parents to register their children for measuring at Loughborough. See www.shapegb.org for more details.

– Ends –

For results of the survey contact:

Shape GB
W: www.shapegb.org

For all media enquiries contact:

Hannah Baldwin
Head of Public Relations
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697
E: H.E.Baldwin@lboro.ac.uk

Notes for editors:

About Loughborough University

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

About Select Research

Select Research is a Birmingham based research company who have been pioneering the use of 3D Body Scanning technology since 1997 to provide clients with more accurate information about the size and shape of the human body. Select have managed large sizing surveys for many clients including M&S and Next, scanning more than 25,000 men, women and children over the past 10 years. This includes a survey in 1999 for M&S involving the measurement of more than 3,500 children.

Select were commissioned by 17 retailers to manage recruitment and sampling of 11,000 adults for Size UK - the first UK National Sizing Survey in 50 years in 2001, with data being used by all the major retailers including M&S, Tesco, House of Fraser, Arcadia, Debenhams, Bhs and John Lewis. This national survey led on to other national surveys in the US, Mexico and Thailand.

The first of Select’s four surveys for M&S in 1998 was used as the basis for their first ever dedicated marketing campaign, centred on the results from the survey by Select that Size 16 had become the average size for an adult female.

Since 2000, Select have been using 3D scanners to develop the Body Volume Index (BVI); a potential modern day replacement to the Body Mass Index (BMI) in measurement of obesity levels. BVI is currently being tested through a clinical research programme led by Heartlands NHS Hospital in the UK and The Mayo Clinic in the USA. Other Universities and research facilities across Europe are also involved in the two year study. See www.bodybenchmark.org. Select’s work on BVI co-incides with a growing awareness in recent times that body shape and weight distribution have more significance for retail and healthcare purposes than size alone.

The company also specialises in product research and qualitative research, focus group moderation and analysis for the retail and healthcare markets in particular.

About the 3D Body Scanner

The 3D Scanner involves no contact, uses safe white light technology and is completely safe involving no radiation or lasers.

The 3D Scanner is housed in a 5ft square upright booth where a person can stand to be measured. There are a series of 16 sensors and 32 cameras, programmed by a bank of standard PC to create a ‘virtual’ body image.  Over 200 separate linear data measurements can be extracted.

A person is measured in underclothes similar to their skin colour - The system is perfectly safe as no radiation is involved, the scan takes 6 seconds and the whole process takes less than 2 minutes from start to finish. The scan is saved on a secure server anonymously to be accessed by retailer and data analysts.

About participation in Shape GB

To encourage participation from parents, press or internet sites would be invited to include the following line at the conclusion of articles: -

To book an appointment to be measured for The National Childrenswear Survey or to register an interest in being scanned in future, please visit www.shapegb.org

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