|EMSB JOINS CTV TO PROMOTE NATIONAL EATING DISORDERS WEEK|
MONTREAL,FEBRUARY 14, 2006– In a society where being thin is in – and allegations about the health of young celebrities continue to swirl – eating disorders are a fact of life for many of today’s teenagers. As a follow-up to National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (Feb. 5–11), CTV is providing some English Montreal School Board (EMSB) students with a special screening of a dramatic, two-episode story arc in Degrassi: The Next Generation that draws attention to this pervasive problem.
It will take place on Wednesday, February 15 (1:45 p.m. sharp) at Lauren Hill Academy Junior Campus (2355 Decelles) in St. Laurent. EMSB Nutritionist Giuliani Di Quinzio will be on hand to give a brief introduction before the two episodes (a combined 44 minutes with no commercials). Sophie Grégoire, the Quebec Correspondent for CTV’s eTalk Daily, will also be on hand to cover the premiere and say a few words. She has previously worked with a Quebec organization that raises awareness on eating disorders and it is a cause that she is very passionate about.
The Grade 7 and 8 students will be available to talk to the media at 3 p.m. In March, the EMSB will mark Nutrition Month. At the high school level, Ms. Di Quinzio will be talking to students about issues such as eating disorders.
"At the EMSB, we offer a nutrition education program entitled Food: Fuel for Life to high school students," says Ms. Di Quinzio. "The goal is to educate and provide the skills they need to make healthy food choices and lead an active lifestyle. The program identifies factors influencing their body image and discusses the effects of poor eating patterns such as dieting and eating disorders on body health."
Ripped from the headlines, "Our Lips Are Sealed," is a two-part account of how 16-year-old Emma Nelson (Miriam McDonald) battles with anorexia and bulimia. The wrenching, all-new episodes premiere Monday, February 20 and 27 at 8:30 p.m. ET on CTV (check local listings).
"It upsets me greatly to see that young people's body images are so affected by the media," says Linda Schuyler, Degrassi's Executive Producer. "The message of self-acceptance is so important, and Emma's eating disorder brings that issue to the forefront."
Dealing with topics involving sexuality, drugs, religion and self-esteem, Degrassi: The Next Generation - the most-watched Canadian drama series - continues to make waves, tackling topical issues that affect teenagers from all walks of life. In "Our Lips Are Sealed," a distraught Emma throws herself into losing weight - the one thing she has control over - when she confronts her parents' recent split and the demands of keeping her relationship with Peter (Jamie Johnston) under wraps from her best friend Manny (Cassie Steele). "We haven't starved for two days just to ruin it in 10 minutes of gluttony," Emma tells Manny after a big family dinner. But when the sparse eating, over-exercising and constant purging become too much for her body to take, Emma collapses and a family intervention ensues.
"The upcoming Degrassi: The Next Generation storyline illustrates how people don't start out with the idea of getting an eating disorder," said Merryl Bear, Director, National Eating Disorder Information Centre. "These unhealthy patterns of behaviour around food, exercise and weight management begin as a way to help structure or manage stressful lives, but in the end, emotions end up controlling the individual. As the actions of the Degrassi character Emma indicate, vanities don't drive these preoccupations, but attempts at self-management and emotional regulation do."
"Always topical, Degrassi has once again tackled an issue that seriously affects young people," said Susanne Boyce, CTV's President of Programming and Chair of the CTV Media Group. "These episodes provide an opportunity for viewers to start a dialogue about eating disorders with friends or family they are concerned about, or to reach out for the help they need themselves."
At the end of the second episode in the "Our Lips Are Sealed" story arc, CTV will direct viewers to visit www.nedic.ca, the website for Canada's National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC). Nedic is a non-profit organization founded in 1985 to provide information and resources on eating disorders and food and weight preoccupation. In addition to information about eating disorders and advice on how to help friends and/or family suffering from an eating disorder, visitors to NEDIC's website can obtain information about local organizations and outlets available to help those in need.
For more information, contact:
Michael J. Cohen