Rushville Republican

January 5, 2013

Health and Wealth challenge begins

Rush County residents encouraged to participate

Rushville Republican

RUSHVILLE — The Fitness Initiative Team of Rush County wants to help those who may be struggling with New Year’s resolutions to improve health and personal finances. F.I.T. is encouraging participation in the “Winter 2013 Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ (SSHW) Challenge” which will be held Sunday, Jan. 13, through Saturday, Feb. 23. A free six-week program, SSHW nationally is provided through Rutgers Cooperative Extension Program. F.I.T. is bringing this program home to Rush County.

Those who are able will enroll in the national program online. A pen and paper version will be provided for those who do not have Internet access. Small Steps to Health & Wealth™ classes will be held locally starting with a kick-off session Saturday, Jan. 12. Classes will be held every two weeks throughout the challenge including Jan. 26 and Feb. 9 with final wrap-up on Saturday, Feb. 23. Prizes will be awarded for participants who report the highest point totals nationally. At the local level, prize drawings and basic weight and health assessments will be completed at each of the four meetings.

Two steps are required to participate in the Rush County version of SSHW.(1) Return your completed enrollment form to Purdue Extension Rush County in Room 103 of the Rush County Courthouse or to Rush Memorial Hospital HR Dept. (2) Sign up for the online SSHW Challenge by following the “Challenges” link on the Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ Web site at 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 “Winter 2013 SSHW Challenge.”

If you want to use the pen and paper version, it will be available through Rush County Extension Office. Information will also be provided on Facebook (Partners for a Healthy Rush County). Be sure to “like” this page.

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 to track daily points and is now available online for participation nationwide.

It has been well documented that, when people monitor their behavior and measure 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 health and financial practices.

The SSHW Challenge is based on the performance of 10 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 (700 x 6 weeks.)

“The Challenge is a great way to convert ambitious New Year’s resolutions, 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 four 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.

Winter 2013 SSHW Challenge participants will 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 online, 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. At the end of the six weeks, participants will print out their bar graph and submit it locally. They should also bring their up-to-date chart to each of the local classes. Those participating with the pen & paper version will turn in their charts every two weeks, or at the local classes.

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. SSHW activities are being planned locally. Make plans now to be involved.

This is a project of the Fitness Initiative Team of Rush County, one of the action teams of the Partners for a Healthy Rush County.

Enrollment forms will be available from Purdue Extension Rush County and from the Human Resources Department of Rush Memorial Hospital. The form can be downloaded at Questions may be directed to Gracie Marlatt, HHS educator with Purdue Extension at 932-5974 or or to Dennis Fogle, vice president of Human Resources at Rush Memorial Hospital,

To participate in the Rush County “Winter 2013 SSHW Challenge”

(1) Return a completed enrollment form to Purdue Extension Rush County, 101 E. Second Street, Room 103, Courthouse or to RMH Human Resources, 1300 N. Main Street.

(2) Visit the Rutgers SSHW Web site at Under Challenges select SSHW Online Individual Challenge. Register for an account then select My Challenges to enroll in the Winter 2013 SSHW Challenge.

The Challenge will run from Jan. 13 to Feb. 23.

The deadline to enroll is Jan. 17.

Don’t miss out on this fun and motivating program to improve your health and wealth for 2013!

– Rushville Republican