text4baby & USDA

National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB)
4401 Ford Avenue
Suite 300
Alexandria, VA 22302
Jennifer Sharp, or 703-838-7552

text4baby & USDA Team Up to Help Babies Get a Healthy Start

October 12, 2010 – The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have partnered to share text4baby, HMHB’s free mobile health service, with pregnant women and new mothers who receive services through USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children’s (WIC).

“We are grateful for USDA’s partnership and for their support of text4baby,” said Judy Meehan, CEO of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. “They are uniquely positioned to reach women who can benefit from this service.”

USDA’S Supplemental Food Programs Division distributed text4baby information to all of their regional, state and local WIC offices and promoted the program to those who are working directly with mothers and families in local communities across the country.

“Using modern technology to provide valuable health and nutrition information to expectant and new moms is what WIC is all about,” said Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services at USDA. “We are pleased to be a partner in the text4baby initiative and will encourage our agencies to promote the service to their families.”

Text4baby aims to address the national challenge of improving maternal and child health by using text messaging to deliver timely information during pregnancy and through baby’s first year. Women who sign up for the service by texting BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411 receive free SMS text messages each week, personalized to a pregnant woman’s due date or baby’s date of birth.

Since its launch in February this year, more than 85,000 individuals have signed up for the text4baby program, over five million messages have been sent, and more than 350 outreach partners, including national, state, business, academic, non-profit, and other groups, have signed on to promote the service. Text4baby was recently honored with an HHS Innovations Award from US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

About text4baby

Text4baby is made possible through a public-private partnership that includes government, corporations, academic institutions, professional associations, tribal agencies and non-profit organizations. Founding partners include the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, Voxiva, CTIA – The Wireless Foundation, and Grey Healthcare Group (WPP company). Johnson & Johnson is the founding sponsor, and Premier sponsors include WellPoint, Pfizer, and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. U.S. government partners include the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense Military Health System, and the US Department of Agriculture. The mobile health platform is provided by Voxiva, and free messaging services are generously provided by participating wireless service providers. Implementation partners include BabyCenter, Danya International, Syniverse Technologies, Keynote Systems, and The George Washington University. MTV Networks is a media sponsor.

About the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition

The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition is the only coalition of its kind which acts as a catalyst for change by creating partnerships among community groups, nonprofit organizations, professional associations, businesses and government agencies. The Coalition promotes optimal health for mothers and babies, and works to strengthen families and build healthy communities.

About the US Department of Agriculture

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) oversees the administration of 15 nutrition assistance programs, including WIC, that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year. The WIC Program safeguards the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to age five who are at nutritional risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, and counseling and health service referrals.