An op-ed by Tom Daschle on why Type 2 diabetes isn’t child’s play; California considers measure to increase tobacco tax to $1 per pack; plus, why Michael Jordan’s Gatorade ad is drawing criticism from public health advocates. Those stories and more topping public health headlines today, Thursday, May 10, 2012.

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Associated Press – FDA review favors first drug for HIV prevention
A pill that has long been used to treat HIV has moved one step closer to becoming the first drug approved to prevent healthy people from becoming infected with the virus that causes AIDS. The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that Gilead Sciences’ Truvada appears to be safe and effective for HIV prevention. It concluded that taking the pill daily could spare patients “infection with a serious and life-threatening illness that requires lifelong treatment.”

TIME – Study: 1 in 6 Cancers Are Caused by Infection
One in six cancer cases worldwide can be traced back to preventable or treatable infections, finds a new study. The data show that 2 million new cancers in 2008 were caused by such infections. The study by French researchers looked at the incidence of 27 cancers in 184 countries in eight geographical regions. They calculated that in 2008, about 16% of cancers worldwide were infection-related, with the majority occurring in developing countries: 23%, versus 7.4% in developed nations.

Huffington Post – Healthy Roads, Healthy Schools: A Look Into the Effects of Transportation Infrastructure
The importance of direct public transportation to health care providers is as important as having qualified doctors and nurses available at these facilities. If the patient cannot afford private transportation to the doctor, the quality of medical providers is moot. When children with chronic health conditions are not adequately treated, they are left behind in their classes either because of absences or chronic, distracting pain. Children who fall behind in school at an early age are more likely to drop out of high school, thus lowering the student’s future hire-ability. Investments in transportation are investments in a productive and healthy workforce.

USA Today – Health group wants Michael Jordan Gatorade ad pulled
A health group wants to make it clear that Gatorade is not a wonder drug and Michael Jordan is not a superhero. The Public Health Advocacy Institute is asking the U.S. government to pull a Gatorade ad that implies that Jordan overcame the flu during a 1997 playoff game with help from the energy drink.

Politico – Type 2 diabetes in kids not child’s play
If ever we needed a wake-up call on the state of American children’s health, consider the growing proliferation of Type 2 diabetes in our youth, as detailed in a study recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine. These findings, which warn of many children and adolescents’ alarming future of poor health, are yet another reminder of the serious challenges we face in health care today.

California Healthline – Ads Supporting Prop. 29 Aim To Counter Tobacco Industry’s Criticisms
Prop. 29 is a June ballot initiative that would increase the state’s tobacco sales tax by $1 per pack. The current tobacco tax is 87 cents per pack. The state allocates 50 cents of that amount for First 5 early childhood health and education programs. The ballot initiative was written by the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association. Supporters of Prop. 29 say the tax increase would generate about $600 million annually to fund research on smoking-related conditions such as cancer, heart disease and stroke.

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