02/22/2012 07:19 pm ET

Txt4health, Free Mobile Education Service To Fight Diabetes, Launches In Detroit

What's your zip code? How much do weigh?

Would you text the answers to those questions to an unknown number? What if it helped keep you healthy and assessed your risk of diabetes?

It's all part of the txt4health initiative, launched in the last month in three pilot cities, Cincinnati, New Orleans and Detroit. U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, M.D. visited Detroit Wednesday to kick off the program here.

To see how it works for yourself -- don't worry, it's free -- text HEALTH to 300400. After answering background questions, you will get personalized health tips and recommendations for the next 14 weeks.

Txt4health is supported by the Southeast Michigan Beacon Community (SMBC) as part of its larger plan, "Fighting D in the D," to educate the public about diabetes and prevention. One of 17 Beacon Communities the country, SMBC provides funding to support overall health and quality, cost-efficient health systems.

Type 2 diabetes, a leading cause of death in the state, affects more Michiganders than the national average. In Detroit, according to the Free Press, 14.4 percent of the population is diagnosed with diabetes, compared to 10.1 percent statewide and 8.7 percent nationally.