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Div. of Media Relations
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September 7, 2001
Contact: (760) 431-6765

Press Release

CDC Names Soap Opera Storylines From Three Networks as Finalists for the Sentinel for Health Award for Daytime Drama

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced four finalists today for the second annual Sentinel for Health Award for Daytime Drama. The award recognizes exemplary achievements of daytime drama storylines that inform, educate, and motivate viewers to make choices for healthier and safer lives.

The second-year competition generated nine entries from seven of ten daytime dramas that are created in the United States. ABC, CBS and NBC shows are represented among the finalists. The storylines that have been selected by CDC topic experts as finalists are: "Joe May Be HIV Positive" from Port Charles, "Ecstasy and Agony" from All My Children, "Fetal Alcohol Syndrome" from Days of Our Lives, and "Raul's Diabetes" from The Young and The Restless."

The winner will be selected by a panel of entertainment professionals and health experts, and will be announced during an evening program at the Soap Summit VI conference, Oct. 26-27, in Santa Monica. Youth risk behavior and youth-parent communication issues will be addressed at the one-and-one-half-day educational conference which is presented by Population Communications International for writers and producers of daytime dramas.

"The CDC and other health agencies recognize that TV is a major source of health information for viewers, many of whom discuss health storylines from TV entertainment shows with their friends and family," said CDC Director Jeffrey P. Koplan, M.D., M.P.H. "CDC experts are available to provide credible information for accurate portrayals of health issues in TV dramas, which can educate mass audiences about disease risk and prevention. "

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 -- learned about a disease or how to prevent it from a soap opera in the past year. More than one-third (34%) took some action as a result, such as discussing it with others, giving advice or calling a doctor. "The award was developed by CDC because regular viewers of daytime dramas include some of the age groups, education and income levels, and minority groups at greatest risk for preventable diseases," said Koplan. "This is an important way to reach out to them."

Healthstyles data indicates soap opera viewers also tend to have more health concerns and more negative beliefs about disease prevention than non-viewers, seek out health information more than non-viewers, but have more difficulty understanding the information they read. (The Healthstyles Survey is a proprietary database product developed by Porter Novelli. The data on soap opera viewers was analyzed by the CDC and findings were reported at the 128th American Public Health Association Annual Meeting & Exposition, Nov.15, 2000 in Boston.)

The Sentinel for Health Award for Daytime Drama 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 --


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protects people's health and safety, enhances health decisions by providing credible information, and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships.

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This page last reviewed October 9, 2001

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