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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.
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 http://www.cdc.gov/communication/entertainment_education.htm.
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.
This page last updated November 2, 2001
Department of Health and Human Services