A recent Huffington Post article reported on arguments against Skechers' Shape-ups for Girls by "parenting groups" and referenced a petition that had been posted on change.org, which apparently was started by a student at Swarthmore College, not a parenting group.
Change.org is a service site that lets anybody start a petition on anything and the individual who started this petition appears to be concerned about important issues such as self-esteem, body image and eating disorders.
While Skechers agrees these issues are important, we think it is unfair and inaccurate to conflate them with Shape-ups for Girls and its advertising aimed at girls ages 7 through 12. We'd like to set the record straight.
The whole message behind Shape-ups is to get people moving, exercising, and getting fit. Skechers' advertising for Shape-ups for Girls contains the same message as the First Lady's Let's Move initiative, which is aimed specifically at children.
Anyone who visits letsmove.gov would have to wonder whether the person who started the petition, and anyone else who had echoed her concerns, might voice the exact same concerns about the Let's Move messaging for children.
The Let's Move web site says, "Physical activity helps control weight, builds lean muscle, reduces fat, promotes strong bone, muscle and joint development, and decreases the risk of obesity."
American children are more sedentary now than at any time in our history. Shape-ups' intended purpose is to promote exercise and fitness, which should be viewed as a positive message for kids to get up and get moving.
The First Lady's Let's Move campaign also says, "Everyone has a role to play in reducing childhood obesity, including... private sector companies."
Skechers also has received some inquiries from journalists who erroneously thought that Shape-ups for Girls was being marketed to pre-school children. This is not the case. Shape-ups for Girls come in sizes 2-6, which is meant for girls approximately 7 to 12 years old, and some even older, depending upon their size.
On another matter, which applies to Shape-ups for adults, some of these same critics have included links to a small clinical study that was not published in a reputable journal and not peer reviewed, which claimed to have found no statistically significant differences between several manufacturers' toning shoes and a regular athletic shoe.
It should be noted that many other clinical studies have demonstrated that adult participants wearing rocker-bottom shoes experienced fitness benefits, including increased muscle activation, greater energy consumption, and increased metabolic rates.
You can review some of these studies at www.toningshoestudies.com, including studies published in Clinical Biomechanics and Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (the Official Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine).
Skechers hopes that this information makes it clear that Shape-ups are intended to get people moving, exercising and being fit. We think that is a good thing and are disappointed that anyone would perceive it as something negative.