DENVER — New episodes of a critically acclaimed, locally-produced Spanish language soap opera will focus on the obesity crisis in hopes of helping viewers better understand what causes obesity and how they can live healthier lives. The soap opera is called “Encrucijada: Sin Salud, no hay Nada” (“Crossroads: Without Health, there is Nothing”).
The Colorado Health Foundation has awarded the soap opera’s producers a planning grant to begin working on 24 new episodes. The series follows on the successful airing, on KCEC, Denver’s Univision station, of 12 episodes that included messaging around accessing public health services.
“We are thrilled to get this planning funding from the Colorado Health Foundation,” said Anne Smith, principal of Evolve Communications, the project director for the soap opera series, known as a telenovela. “Our goal has always been to create compelling television content that also delivers positive public health messages. We’ve always understood the importance of this series being ‘must watch’ television for Spanish-language soap opera fans.”
The original series, first broadcast in 2009 and rebroadcast in 2010, received international media coverage and numerous awards, including the Colorado Broadcasters Association’s 2009 Award of Excellence. Its success can also be measured statistically. “The data collected in the evaluation of ‘Encrucijada,’ clearly indicated that its audience not only learned a lot about enrollment in public health insurance, diseases, and chronic disease management, but they also showed a very important change in attitude regarding the importance of staying healthy to be able to care for their families,” said Dr. Mariana Enriquez, program evaluator.
While primarily focused on obesity and the prevention of obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, the new series will model healthy eating and healthy interpersonal relationships. Information on child safety, alcohol abuse prevention and domestic violence will also be incorporated into the storylines of the episodes now being produced.
Collaborators on the project besides The Colorado Health Foundation, Smith and Enriquez-Olmos include Entravision Communications Colorado, Executive Producer Jesus Fuentes and Associate Producer Roberto Manzanillo (La Neta Tierra); Health Content Director Cristina Bejarano, MPH; Call Center DirectorFernando Pineda Reyes (CREA Results); and Public Relations Director Erich Kirshner (Kirshner Communications).
For more information on the series go to http://www.encrucijada.tv.