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September 1, 2000
Contact CDC, Media Relations
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Finalists named for the first ever CDC Sentinel for Health Award for Daytime Drama

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announces today the four finalists for the first ever "Sentinel for Health Award for Daytime Drama". The award recognizes exemplary portrayals of daytime dramas that inform, educate, and motivate viewers to make choices for healthier and safer lives.

The four storylines that have been selected as finalists are: "Drunk Driving Revisited," All My Children; "Pediatric and Adolescent AIDS Awareness", General Hospital; "Vicki’s Breast Cancer", One Life to Live; "Matt Walks", Port Charles. The winner will be announced during the Soap Summit conference, Oct. 14, in Los Angeles. The conference, hosted by Population Communications International, is for writers and producers of daytime dramas.

CDC analysis of data from the 1999 Healthstyles Survey shows that nearly half (48%) of regular viewers of soap operas, those who watch at least twice a week, report that they have learned about a disease or how to prevent it from a soap opera, and more than one-third (34%) have taken some action as a result.

"TV audiences pay close attention to health information. CDC encourages writing and production teams for daytime dramas to continue to build accurate health messages into their storylines," said CDC Director Jeffrey P. Koplan, M.D., M.P.H.

The award activity was developed because many of the regular viewers of soap operas have similar characteristics to audiences at greatest risk for preventable diseases. More than one-third (38%) of regular viewers of soap operas agree they would like to see more health storylines on television, according to the survey results.

The Healthstyles Survey is a proprietary database product developed by Porter Novelli. The survey was analyzed by the CDC to assess if audiences learn about health information from soap operas and what actions they are likely to take as a result. Based on characteristics of soap opera audiences from this and other surveys, regular viewers include some of the age groups, education and income levels, and minorities most at risk for preventable diseases.

The Sentinel for Health Award for Daytime Drama was developed by CDC and is part of a larger entertainment-education program that includes research, education and outreach to entertainment audiences.

The CDC has a resource book and CD-Rom available for T.V. writers and producers that includes background information on priority topics, additional resources and contacts for other health topics. Writers can access CDC health information online at http://www.cdc.gov.


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