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Organizers hope the effort can curb premature births, which can be caused by poor nutrition, excessive stress, smoking and drinking alcohol. About 500,000 babies are born prematurely in the U.S. each year, and 28,000 infants die before their first birthday, according to the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. The nonprofit is among the sponsors of the campaign.
"The real scary thing is that we're an industrialized nation and we're not doing very well on infant mortality, and we know prematurity is a big part of that," said the group's director, Judy Meehan.
Currently the U.S. ranks 30th worldwide for infant mortality, according to Meehan, behind most Western European nations.
Researchers at the George Washington University have agreed to evaluate the effectiveness of text4baby by measuring health trends for mothers and newborns.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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