Small Steps to Health and Wealth™

Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension's major health finance initiative is Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ (SSHW). This program is designed to motivate consumers to implement behavior change strategies that simultaneously improve their health and personal finances. SSHW includes the following resources: book chapters, behavior change strategies, motivational messages, multimedia, posters, research, and journal articles. 
Resource URL:
Author(s): 
Barbara O'Neill
Karen Ensle
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation: 
Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension
Published: 
2013
Number of Pages: 
132
Skill Level: 
NRS EFL 4--ABE Intermediate High
NRS EFL 5--ASE Low
NRS EFL 6--ASE High
Abstract: 

Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension's major health finance initiative is Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ (SSHW). Created by Dr. Barbara O'Neill, a financial resource management specialist and Dr. Karen Ensle, a family and community health sciences educator and department chair, both from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, this program is designed to motivate consumers to implement behavior change strategies that simultaneously improve their health and personal finances. SSHW includes the following resources: book chapters, behavior change strategies, motivational messages, multimedia, posters, research, and journal articles. In 2013, SSHW was recognized as the Adult Education Program of the Year for Money Management by the Institute for Financial Literacy's Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE™) award.

What the Experts Say: 

Small Steps to Health and Wealth provides comprehensive guidance on both health and wealth, with greater emphasis on the health component.  The framework of Small Steps to Health and Wealth is unique in that it focuses on both improving the health of individuals and their wealth (financial fitness) at the same time. Sometimes the resource alludes to a direct correlation of the two topics, but for the most part, it gives advice (behavior strategies) and aligns solutions for the strategy on the health side and then the wealth side.

With the target audience identified in the description as:  local program administrators, professional developers, and teachers, this resource is more targeted toward an educator, placing ample information for educators to select and identify for use with smaller target populations. The content, especially the short 3-5 page "chapters" that set the stage for the worksheets, could be used for a study circle. Ideally, the resource's value would be exploring specific strategies and using the strategy worksheets with students. The reading level for this resource is rather high and much of the content is very in-depth; if all of it were used, it would be overwhelming from an adult learner perspective. Students would need some careful vocabulary instruction in order to understand academic and technical terms. In addition, many financial examples are based on middle income consumers (approximately $50,000 per year gross income) while the median income for those without a high school diploma is approximately $25,000 so some of the saving strategies would be rather difficult for individuals already spending modestly. While the 25 Behavior Change Strategies have something for everyone, it appears the following strategies may be most beneficial to the greatest number of people: 1, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, 20, 23, 24, and 25. 

There is much to use and the resource is helpful, however an educator will need to be able to extract the appropriate content for their adult students. The site is somewhat disjointed in its design; it is not easy to figure out where to 'start' or identify the goal/purpose without a little initial guidance. The financial literacy (wealth) guidance is beneficial, but may be lost among the focus of health in the resource.  

Benefits and Uses: 

Small Steps to Health and Wealth provides comprehensive guidance on both health and wealth, with greater emphasis on the health component.  The framework of Small Steps to Health and Wealth is unique in that it focuses on both improving the health of individuals and their wealth (financial fitness) at the same time. Sometimes the resource alludes to a direct correlation of the two topics, but for the most part, it gives advice (behavior strategies) and aligns solutions for the strategy on the health side and then the wealth side.

With the target audience identified in the description as:  local program administrators, professional developers, and teachers, this resource is more targeted toward an educator, placing ample information for educators to select and identify for use with smaller target populations. The content, especially the short 3-5 page "chapters" that set the stage for the worksheets, could be used for a study circle. Ideally, the resource's value would be exploring specific strategies and using the strategy worksheets with students. The reading level for this resource is rather high and much of the content is very in-depth; if all of it were used, it would be overwhelming from an adult learner perspective. Students would need some careful vocabulary instruction in order to understand academic and technical terms. In addition, many financial examples are based on middle income consumers (approximately $50,000 per year gross income) while the median income for those without a high school diploma is approximately $25,000 so some of the saving strategies would be rather difficult for individuals already spending modestly. While the 25 Behavior Change Strategies have something for everyone, it appears the following strategies may be most beneficial to the greatest number of people: 1, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, 20, 23, 24, and 25. 

There is much to use and the resource is helpful, however an educator will need to be able to extract the appropriate content for their adult students. The site is somewhat disjointed in its design; it is not easy to figure out where to 'start' or identify the goal/purpose without a little initial guidance. The financial literacy (wealth) guidance is beneficial, but may be lost among the focus of health in the resource.  

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