International News Desk – At Home: Gun registry data given to polling firm – In Foreign News: Australia sees doubling of boys? obesity rates

International News Desk – At Home: Gun registry data given to polling firm – In Foreign News: Australia sees doubling of boys? obesity rates

At Home: Gun registry data given to polling firm

Personal information from Canada’s gun registry has been given to a polling firm?and some gun owners are unhappy about that.

As the CBC reports, the RCMP shared personal information from the national gun registry with Ekos Research. The data was used to conduct a research study; specifically, ?to gauge gun owners? satisfaction with the RCMP’s firearms program.?

But when gun owners started getting phone call from Ekos, many were upset to learn that their personal details had gone beyond their gun registry file.

Greg Farrant, of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, noted to reporters that the move went well beyond public safety.

?What the heck a polling firm is doing with information about names, addresses and phone numbers of people who own firearms in this country so they can contact them for a poll is beyond me,? he said.

Police explained the move by saying that the polling firm was acting ?as an extension of the RCMP,? and that personal data will either be returned to police or destroyed when Ekos is done with it.

However, concerns remain about just how secure the private details in the gun registry really are, with observers noting that the data could be a tempting target for criminals.

In Foreign News: Australia sees doubling of boys? obesity rates

In Australia, the number of ?simply overweight? boys did not rise between 1995 and 2007. But the proportion of boys considered clinically obese has doubled for the same period, and that has health experts calling for action.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that boys? obesity rates rose to 13 per cent (in the 13 to 17 age group) and 8 per cent for those aged five to 12. The statistics were released in a quarterly report from the Bureau of Statistics. Obesity levels for girls during the same period remained unchanged.

As many as 25 per cent of children across the nation are overweight or obese, according to the National Health Survey, which means they have a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

To control the rising obesity levels in boys, some experts say a broadly focused approach is needed and that other methods, ?such as counselling by GPs or after-school sports groups,? were not effective. One suggestion has been to ban TV ads for junk food during certain hours. The National Preventative Health Taskforce, a federal initiative, recommends banning ads for ?high-calorie foods low in nutritional value at times when children were likely to be watching.?

Preventing obesity in children, both in Australia and elsewhere, could have a profound effect on health care costs in the future. According to the World Health Organization, there are currently ?more than 1 billion overweight adults? worldwide, with at least 300 million considered obese.

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