united way of greater chattanooga


January 6th, 2012

Small Steps to Health and Wealth™

Online Challenge Begins January 15

Just in time to support New Year’s resolutions to improve health and personal finances, the local Tennessee Saves coalition and the Cooperative Extension system are launching an online Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ (SSHW) Challenge. This free six-week program is open to anyone who enrolls online. Participants enter their personal progress on health and money management goals between Sunday, January 15 and Saturday, February 25. Prizes will be awarded for participants who report the highest point totals. 

This activity is designed to motivate Americans to take action to simultaneously improve their health and personal finances. The Challenge is based on ten recommended practices on a daily basis: five focus on health and nutrition; another five practices 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 ambitious New Year’s resolutions, like losing weight and saving money, into daily action steps. It's easy, doesn’t require a lot of time and is totally private - you simply keep track of your own progress. Participants will be surprised at what a difference small things can make in health and money habits.

Anyone can enroll in the challenge at http://njaes.rutgers.edu/sshw/. Follow the “Challenges” link on the Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ Web site. Set up a user name and password and download a simple one-page user’s guide with instructions about how to proceed. Click on the Challenge titled “Winter 2012 SSHW Challenge." 

Participants are “on their honor” to report their activities accurately. They can replace one daily health activity and one daily personal finance activity with unique daily personal challenges of their own. As data is entered, the point total for each day of the weekand a bar graph compares 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.

The SSHW Challenge is part of Small Steps to Health and Wealth™, a national Cooperative Extension program developed and built around a framework of 25 research-based behavior change strategies.  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 nutrition.

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 media reports. 

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