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HEALTH & BEAUTY Texting for your baby’s health
DID you just find out that you’re pregnant? Are you concerned about your infant’s nutrition? Want quick tips to help you have a healthy preg- nancy and healthy first year for your baby? Now expect- ant or new moms can easily get the information they need through a free service on their cell phones: text4baby. Text4baby provides timely pregnancy and health tips sent directly to participants’ cell phones in the form of text messages. While 90 percent of people in the U.S. have cell phones, text4baby is the first free, health education program in the country to harness the popularity of texting as a mode of communication.
Pregnant women and new mothers who text “BABY” (or “BEBE” for Spanish) to 511411 receive weekly text messages, timed to their due date or their baby’s birth date through the baby’s first year. The messages, which have been vetted by government and non-profit health experts like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Amer- ican Academy of Pediatrics and March of Dimes, deal with nutrition, immunization and birth defect prevention, among other topics. “There’s lots of information out there in books, on the Web and being shared by doc- tors, but what is unique about text4baby is that it brings personal and timely informa- tion directly to women three times a week wherever they are at that moment,” said Judy Meehan, CEO of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Ba- bies Coalition (HMHB) which
are also more opportunities to gather user feedback in order to better serve moms. “Pregnancy and mother- hood bring a great deal of joy into a woman’s life, but they also bring new and unique re- sponsibilities,” said Elizabeth “Betty” T. Jordan, a registered nurse and director of the un- dergraduate program at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. “Text4baby gives expect- ant and new mothers critical information they need so they can take charge of their health and the health of their babies in partnership with their care provider during pregnancy and the critical first year of life.”
Sample text4baby mes- sages include:
“Need free or low-cost health care for you & your baby? Your state has pro- grams to help. Call 877- 543-7669 to find out if you qualify.” “Talk to your Dr. about getting a flu shot. Pregnant moms & babies can get very sick from flu. For info call CDC at 800-232-4636.” “Did you get info from
your Dr. on newborn screen- ing tests? If not, ask for it. Your baby will have these tests in the first 48 hours after birth.”
administers the program. In its first year, text4baby is already reaching more than 125,000 women thanks to an unprecedented partnership between the nonprofit HMHB and private sector and govern- ment partners including the
White House Office on Sci- ence and Technology Policy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), CTIA - The Wireless Foun- dation and Voxiva. Johnson & Johnson is the program’s founding sponsor.
Celebrate heart awareness month with heart healthy habits
THE Centers for Disease Control reports that more than one quarter of all deaths are caused by heart disease alone. However, despite its often-deadly effects, heart disease does not have the high profile of cancer, AIDS and other terminal diseases. This means that many people with heart disease either do not realize they have the condition, or do not seek treatment for early warning signs. While many think that heart disease primarily affects men or the elderly, women are just as likely to suffer from heart disease as men. In fact, approximately 10 percent of women age 45-64 suffer from the disease. Geeta Maharaj, nursing director at Ever- est College’s Salt Lake City campus explains that you don’t have to be in nursing school to know there are many things you can do to reduce the likelihood of having heart-related health problems. “One of the most important is simply to learn about how your life choices
affect your heart’s health,” adds Maharaj. The major risk factors for heart disease are
inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, ciga- rette smoking, high cholesterol and diabetes. In 2005-2006, the Center for Disease Control reported that 37 percent of Americans had two or more of these risk factors, potentially increasing their chances of contracting heart disease.
However, approximately one half (47 percent) of deaths caused by sudden cardiac arrests happen outside of hospitals, which suggests that many people who are suffering from heart disease go undiagnosed, or are not seeking treatment.
Medical research has shown that lower- ing cholesterol and blood pressure levels can reduce the likelihood of having a heart attack, needing heart bypass surgery, and dying from heart disease. Even for those who are currently healthy, lowering cholesterol can reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Now, through a multi- million dollar, multi-year commitment from Johnson & Johnson, text4baby aims to reach 1 million underserved mothers by 2012. New fea- tures of the expanded program include increased interactiv- ity, such as quizzes, to rein- force comprehension. There
Text4baby is an exciting and innovative way for the millions of pregnant women and new moms across the country to get the most im- portant information they need to ensure their child’s healthy development.
If you’re an expectant or new mom or you know one and want to learn more, go to www.text4baby.org
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