The London Telegraphreported that because of a software programming error, the parents of hundreds of UK school children have been told their child is overweight when he or she is not.

According to the Telegraph, "Millions of children in England are weighed at the beginning and end of their time at primary schools as part of the National Child Measurement Programme to combat child obesity." The numbers are then fed into a computer program that will, when certain thresholds are met, automatically generate "feedback letters" informing parents that their children need to lose weight.

However, it was recently discovered that a programming error has led to hundreds of children with healthy body mass indexes being told instead they were overweight, or overweight children that they were very overweight.

The National Health Service (NHS) which runs the National Child Measurement Programme, apologized for any "unnecessary concern" the letter generated.  It also promises to fix the software problem as soon as possible.

The parents of children affected are to be personally contacted about the error.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
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A plate of spaghetti made from code with a single strand of "spaghetti code" being pulled from the top of the frame in a neverending loop on a blue gradient background.
Shira Inbar
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You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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