December 6, 2010

Take Small Steps to Health and Wealth

By Phyllis Zalenski
Iowa State University Extension Scott County

Want to improve your health and personal finances? Meet yourself halfway, step down to change, kick it up a notch, and live “the power of 10.” What do these phrases have in
common? They are among the behavior change strategies contained within Iowa State University Extension’s new personal financial and wellness program, Small Steps to Health and Wealth™.

The program focuses on similarities between health and personal finance “issues.” For example, obesity and high household debt usually don’t happen overnight. Rather, they occur slowly over time and often go unrecognized or unchanged until a crisis event occurs. Another common issue is the need to balance “intake” with “outgo.” If you know you’re going to have a big meal or a big expense coming up, you can try to “lighten up” elsewhere in order to stay on track. You can also use your feet more so you can eat more.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, research has shown that a person doesn’t need to lose a massive amount of weight to see improvements in health. A modest loss of just 5 to 7 percent of body weight helps a lot. Ditto for small financial improvements such as saving $2 a day, plus pocket change, in a can or a jar. In a year, you would have about $1,000 saved.

Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ focuses on “small steps” that you can take to both improve your health and increase wealth. You will learn about various strategies that match best with your income, goals, and lifestyle and apply to both goals. You’ll create a personal action plan, access resources from Iowa State University Extension, and learn from ISUE health and financial program specialists.

The Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ program series is available to businesses, churches, social service agencies, and others interested in providing the program. Presentations are scheduled on days, times and locations convenient for your group.

For more information, contact Phyllis Zalenski, Family Resource Management Program Specialist at 319-462-2791 or