Up to 2500 children may have been told that they are overweight, when in fact this is not the case. The problem has occurred due to a software error and affects up to a maximum of 2500 children in reception class and year six of primary school. Each year over a million children are measured as part of the National Child Measurement Programme, introduced to help fight the problem of child obesity.
As soon as the local authorities became aware that there was a problem with the measurement results, no further letters were issued, and apologies were issued to parents of the children involved. As the weight of children is a sensitive matter for parents as well as the child themselves, the authorities have tried to contact parents personally.
The letters actually contain the correct measurements for the children but have incorrectly assigned them to the wrong Body Mass Index group. Some children whose weight is within the healthy weight range have been told they are overweight, whilst children who are overweight have been informed that they are very overweight.
Primary Care Trusts have been working to inform the parents of all affected children the correct results as soon as possible. Although the National Child Measurement Programme plays a role in monitoring the weight of children, reducing the problem of child obesity, problems such as this can create adverse reactions from parents.