Local online health challenge to begin

Published 6:00 am Monday, April 16, 2018

Are you trying to rescue a failed New Year’s resolution? It has been well documented that, when people monitor their behavior and measure how they are doing, they are often inspired to do better and achieve positive results. The Bell County Cooperative Extension Service is launching an online Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ (SSHW) Challenge called “Bell County Small Steps to Health and Wealth.” This free four weel program is designed to help you improve both your health and personal finance behaviors.

To sign up for the SSHW Challenge, follow the SSHW Online Challenge link available on the National Steps to Health and Wealth™ Challenge Web site at http://rutgers.ancc.net/. Register an account by creating a user name and password, and download the simple one-page user’s guide with instructions on how to enter a challenge. Enroll in the challenge titled “Bell County Small Steps to Health and Wealth 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.

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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 five daily health and nutrition practices are: EEat at least 4 cups of fruits and vegetables; get at least 30 minutes of exercise; drink water or unsweetened beverages instead of sugar-sweetened beverages; walk 10,000 or more steps; 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; save/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.

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.

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.

Rebecca Miller is the Bell County extension agent for family and consumer sciences. Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.