Health and Wealth Challenge begins Feb. 18

By Tamara Thomas, Family and Consumer Sciences Published:

Just in time to rescue failed New Year’s resolutions to improve health and personal finances, the Cooperative Extension system is launching an online Health and Wealth Challenge called “Ft. Harrod KY Health & Wealth Challenge 2013.”

This free eight-week program, open to anyone who enrolls online, will be held Monday, Feb. 18-Monday, April 15.  This is a nationally available overall Challenge, but the Ft. Harrod Area Extension Service is offering its own Ft. Harrod Health & Wealth Challenge for 2013 to demonstrate we in central Kentucky understand the importance of being financially fit as well as physically fit for living a healthier lifestyle every day.

To sign up online for the Fort Harrod KY Health and Wealth Challenge 2013:

nFollow the SSHW Online Chal­lenge link available on the National Steps to Health and Wealth Challenge Web site at

nRegister an account by creating a user name and password

nDownload a simple one-page user’s guide with instructions on how to proceed

nClick on “My Account” to enroll in the challenge

nClick “My Challenges”

nClick “Enter a New Challenge”

nClick on the Challenge titled “Fort Harrod KY Health and Wealth Challenge 2013.”

The Challenge is part of a national Cooperative Extension program developed to motivate Americans to take action to simultaneously improve their health and personal finances called Small Steps to Health and Wealth.  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.

Monitor behavior

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 practices. The 10 challenges included in Ft. Harrod KY Challenge are not hard or complicated, but in the end can help you achieve success in living a healthier lifestyle.

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; track 10,000 or more steps by walking with a pedometer; and learn something new about health and nutrition.

The five daily financial management practices included in our Challenge are: save a $1 bill (or more) and/or pocket change; put $3 or more per day towards a debt reduction or emergency fund; 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. 

Each county will provide its own end-of-program incentives.  End-of-program incentives are dependent upon a minimal county participation of five people per county.  To be eligible for end-of-program incentives (if minimum number of participants is met), participants must enter data each week of the program.  Incentives will be provided to participants in the following counties in Kentucky:  Anderson, Boyle, Franklin, Garrard, Jessamine, Lincoln, and Woodford.

 If you cannot enter your data every day, don’t worry, paper tracking forms will be included in your “GYM PACK” when you sign up that you can record daily activities until they are entered online. The GYM PACK can be picked up at the Extension Office after you enter online. It includes a pedometer, water bottle, stretch band, piggy bank, counters, and various other information and items to get you started on your challenge.

For more information, contact the Franklin County Extension Office, 695-9035, or stop by 101 Lakeview Ct.

Source: Mary Hixson and Rita Stewart, UK Family and Consumer Sciences Agents

Upcoming classes

The following classes are planned for the Franklin County Extension Office and require pre-registration by calling 695-9035.

Taking Control of Your Diabetes, 5-6:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Feb. 13, 20, 27; March 6, 13, 20, 27. This general series is for anyone with diabetes. The class will meet weekly for 7-8 weeks. Learn what you can do to manage this condition and live well. Materials will be provided.

Couples’ Night Out Series, Fridays 5:30 p.m., March 1 and April 5. Come for food and fun. Learn ways to enrich your relationships. A variety of topics will be covered.

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