ICFE eNEWS #12-12 - April 4th 2012
Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ Online Challenge Begins April 15
Just in time for pleasant Spring weather across the U.S.,
Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the Cooperative Extension
system are launching an online Small Steps to Health and
Wealth™ (SSHW) Challenge called "Spring 2012 SSHW
Challenge." This free six-week program, open to anyone who
enrolls online, will be held from Sunday, April 15, through
Saturday, May 26, 2012. Prizes will be awarded for participants
who report the highest point totals.
To sign up for the SSHW Challenge, follow the "Challenges"
link on the Small Steps to Health and Wealth™
site. Set up a user name and password and download a simple
one-page user's guide with instructions about how to proceed.
Enroll in the Challenge titled "Spring 2012 SSHW Challenge."
The SSHW Challenge is part of Small Steps to Health and
Wealth™, a national Cooperative Extension program developed
to motivate Americans to take action to simultaneously improve
their health and personal finances. SSHW was built around a
framework of 25 research-based behavior change strategies. The
Challenge was originally developed in a "paper and pencil"
format with printed worksheets and is now available online.
It has been well documented that, when people monitor their
behavior and measure their how they're doing, they are often
inspired to do better and achieve positive results. Participants
in a SSHW Challenge are "on their honor" to report their
activities accurately. If they "cheat" on reporting their
points, they are only cheating themselves by not following the
recommended daily Practices.
The SSHW Challenge is based on the performance of ten
recommended Practices on a daily basis: five that involve health
and nutrition and five that involve financial management. Ten
points are given for performing each one for a maximum of 700
points per week and 4,200 points for the entire challenge. "The
Challenge is a great way to convert personal goals, like losing
weight and saving money, into daily action steps," notes Dr.
Barbara O'Neill, Extension Specialist in Financial Resource
Management for Rutgers Cooperative Extension.
The five daily health and nutrition Practices are: eat at
least 4 cups of fruits and vegetables; get at least 30 minutes
of physical activity; drink water or unsweetened beverages
instead of sugar-sweetened beverages; eat at least two servings
of whole grain foods; and learn something new about health and
The five daily financial management Practices included in the
SSHW Challenge are: save a $1 bill (or more) and/or pocket
change; invest $5 or more per day (including automated
retirement savings plan deposits); track money spent throughout
the day; eat lunch prepared at home; and learn something new
about personal finance. The latter activity, for both health and
personal finances, can be accomplished by visiting Web sites,
attending seminars, or by reading, listening to, or viewing
Spring 2012 SSHW Challenge participants also have an
opportunity to replace one daily health activity and one daily
personal finance activity with unique daily personal challenges
of their own. "Providing some adaptation of the traditional SSHW
Challenge format will make the Challenge more "personal" for
participants and give them an opportunity to practice new
behaviors if they are already doing all of the 10 pre-selected
activities," explained Dr. O'Neill.
As participants enter their personal data, they will see
their point totals for each day of the week and for each of the
ten activities described above. They'll also see a bar graph
that compares their personal progress to the average scores of
everyone else participating in the Challenge. Daily motivational
messages will also be provided to participants. Paper tracking
forms can be downloaded to keep track of daily activities until
they are entered online.
Doing even one of the ten recommended daily Practices is a
great way to get started on the path to better health and
improved financial security. The more SSHW Challenge activities
that are performed by participants, the better. To sign up for
"Spring 2012 SSHW Challenge" visit the Rutgers SSHW
site and click on "SSHW Online Individual Challenge."
If you have any questions contact: Barbara O'Neill, Extension
Specialist in Financial Resource Management, Rutgers Cooperative
firstname.lastname@example.org 732-932-9155 (X 250). Please tell
her you heard about it through the ICFE.