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Embargoed for Release:
8 p.m. ET, Oct. 26, 2001

Contact: (760) 431-6765

Press Release

Diabetes Storyline Awarded CDC Sentinel for Health Award for Daytime Drama

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today presents the 2nd Annual CDC Sentinel for Health Award for Daytime Drama to the CBS soap opera, The Young and the Restless, for its portrayal of diabetes in a teenager who appears as a regular character on the show.

This award was developed by CDC, and is supported by the CDC Foundation, to encourage more health storylines and more accurate portrayals of health topics in daytime drama. The award recognizes exemplary achievements of daytime dramas that inform, educate and motivate viewers to make choices for healthier and safer lives.

The announcement is being made in Santa Monica during the dinner program for Soap Summit VI, an educational conference hosted by Population Communications International for writers, producers and network executives of daytime dramas.

The health storyline was selected from four finalists. Judges noted the winning entry was well "written, acted, directed and produced." It encouraged viewers to "learn about their disease" while still conveying a "dramatic and heart-warming" storyline.

Invited experts from public health, academic, advocacy and entertainment organizations judged all the finalists, including: "Fetal Alcohol Syndrome" from NBC’s Days Of Our Lives; "Joe May Be HIV Positive" from ABC’s Port Charles, and "Ecstasy and Agony" from ABC’s All My Children.

"Diabetes is a serious, costly, and increasingly common disease that affects nearly 16 million Americans – about a third of whom don’t even know they have the disease yet," said Jeffrey P. Koplan, M.D.,M.P.H., director of the CDC. "This type of storyline goes a long way to support public health efforts because it educates audiences about the symptoms of diabetes, motivates them to seek early medical treatment, and reminds them of the importance of managing the disease to avoid serious consequences like coma and even death."

As part of a public service effort, the show also produced and aired a public service ad that provided a phone number for the American Diabetes Association. More than two hundred viewers sent letters and e-mail notes to the show, and several hundred viewers called the American Diabetes Association for information. The letters and calls were evidence of the story’s impact on viewers – including visits to doctors, or a relative or friend’s visit to a doctor, to be diagnosed with diabetes.

This anecdotal evidence illustrates findings from CDC’s audience research, which indicates that viewers learn about health information from daytime and prime time entertainment TV shows, and take action as a result.

  • Nearly half of regular daytime drama viewers say they learn about diseases and how to prevent them from watching soaps, and more than a third take some action – such as talking to others about the health issue, giving advice to prevent the problem, or visiting a doctor or clinic themselves.

  • Women of color who are regular viewers learn about health issues more often from daytime dramas than from prime time dramas, and more Black women who are regular viewers will give prevention advice after hearing about a health issue on daytime drama than on prime time drama.

The award is part of the CDC's Entertainment Education Program that includes research, education and outreach to entertainment audiences. An online web site for T.V. writers and producers includes background information on public health topics, with links to additional online resources at

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protects people’s health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national and international organizations.

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This page last updated November 2, 2001

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