Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the launch of USDA's partnership with the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition to provide free, mobile health information through the text4baby initiative to pregnant women and new moms, including participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
"The use of technology offers important new ways to provide pregnant women and new moms with the vital health information they need," said Vilsack. "We're pleased to be a partner with the coalition 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 receive free SMS text messages each week, personalized to a pregnant woman's due date or baby's date of birth.
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service distributed text4baby information to 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.
"Harnessing technology in this way gives us an important tool to help ensure that women are kept up-to-date on the latest health information," said Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. "From proper nutrition to breastfeeding information, text4baby provides a wonderful complement to the WIC program in supporting the health of infants and pregnant women."
WIC safeguards the health of more than 9 million low-income women, infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk by providing supplemental food benefits, nutrition education, counseling, and breastfeeding support. First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign and the Task Force on Childhood Obesity recognize the importance of programs like WIC and initiatives such as text4baby to help children get a healthy start. To learn more about Let's Move!, visit www.LetsMove.gov.
Improving USDA's child nutrition programs on behalf of 32 million kids across the nation is a top priority of the Obama Administration. Strengthening the Child Nutrition Act, which authorizes USDA's child nutrition programs, including WIC and the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, is the legislative centerpiece of Let's Move! This legislation will serve as a down payment in battling hunger and food insecurity while providing critical resources to raise a generation of healthy children.
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) oversees the administration of 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the child nutrition programs, that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year. These programs work in concert to form a national safety net against hunger. Visit www.fns.usda.gov for information about FNS and nutrition assistance programs.