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									Dr. Karen Ensle and Dr. Barbara O‟Neill, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, New Jersey, Linda
Block, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension

Small Steps to Health and Wealth

Objective: Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ (SSHW) was developed to address health/
financial “issues and offers a fresh, interdisciplinary approach. It was developed upon a
framework of 25 behavior change strategies for improved well-being.
Use of Theory or Research: The behavior change strategies are drawn from the Transtheoretical
Model of Change and Attribution Theory.
Target Audience: Adults age 25 to 65, who access program information by attending a
Cooperative Extension class or through Internet Extension websites/eXtension.
Description: SSHW includes: two PowerPoint presentations for consumers, a Web site (see with downloadable fact sheets, a 132-page workbook published by
NRAES (see, The Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ Challenge, and a Web-
based participant registration/impact evaluation reporting system (see http://cals- at the University of
Arizona. All SSHW products are available for the public at .
Monthly archived health and wealth messages, ongoing impact evaluation research, and training
DVD produced by the University of Arizona. SSHW objectives are to:
     Integrate Cooperative Extension health/personal finance programming
     Help Americans simultaneously improve their health/personal finances
     Document improvements in health/wealth of participants by:
         Monitoring/aggregating progress using online assessment tools
         Researching program impacts/relationships between health and wealth
Program Evaluation: Participants enroll online for increased accountability to achieve personal
health/wealth goals. On their six month anniversary, and every six months, they receive
automatically generated e-mail to SSHW online evaluation form to report their progress. Over
10,000 copies the SSH&W workbook have been disseminated in the US. Monthly health/wealth
messages have been posted on Rutgers Cooperative Extension web site since January 2007.
Conclusions and Implications: To promote replication, SSHW has been presented at
health/wealth conferences and at Extension trainings the past three years. Extension educators in
over twelve states pre-ordered the workbook the summer of 2006 and 500 program CD-ROMs
have been distributed nationwide. States are developing SSHW lesson plans (FL), Webinars
(NE), podcasts (ID), and youth activities (KY). We hope that SSHW will continue to grow and
be adopted as a “signature” Extension program. This program was funded through Extension
funding: Smith Lever and small financial grants for special projects.
Joanne Kinsey

Making a Podcast: Easy as 1, 2, 3

Millions of people are podcasting: getting their message out to millions of other people on the
World Wide Web. Podcasts can be watched or listed to via a download on a MP3 player,
computer, or even a cell phone. Podcasts are an attractive way of sharing your message because
they can be accessed anytime and downloaded virtually anywhere. Your podcasts can be „posted‟
on your website or blog.
Audio podcasts are essentially amateur radio productions. They are created using a digital audio
recorder (this could be your computer) and a simple message. You may want to start creating
podcasts that are audio-only so you can understand the process. Video podcasts are more
complex, consisting of audio plus photographs, slides, music, and/or digital footage. Video
enhanced podcasts require time and practice for editing to create the final product.
Creating a podcast can be as simple as three easy steps:
Step 1 – Prepare your informational message. For best results keep the message simple and
concise. A three to five minute podcast will capture attention more readily than a long message.
Start by scripting the words then practice speaking the message until you are comfortable with
the content and your vocalization of the words.
Step 2 – Record the message on a digital recorder. For the best audio quality use an inexpensive
headset that plugs into your computer. Record the message in a quiet, still place devoid of
background noise. Speak slowly into the headset with a clear voice. The podcast can be recorded
and played back, erased and recorded again, or until you are pleased with the results.
Step 3 – Once you are pleased with the message, save the podcast to an MP3 file. The new file
can be uploaded to a website, iTunes, iTunesU( university), or to a PowerPoint document.

Donnia Behrends, MS, RD
Wanda Koszewski, PhD, RD, LMNT
Natalie Sehi, MS, RD

Distance Education Lessons for Limited Resource Nebraskans

Nebraska‟s Nutrition Education Program (NEP) reaches limited-resource Nebraskans by helping
families improve the nutritional quality of their diets and teaching food resource management
skills. One method that NEP uses to teach Nebraskans is through a series of distance education
lessons that are offered as mail or online lessons. A needs assessment questionnaire indicated
that more than 50% of Nebraskans that have internet accessibility were interested in learning
about nutrition via the internet. The lessons have been offered to the public, in English since
September of 2006. The lessons will also be available in Spanish very soon. There are seven
online lesson topics available: MyPyramid, Resource Management, Meal Planning and
Shopping, Fruit and Vegetable Groups, Milk Group, Grain Group, and Physical Activity. NEP
staff track the progress of their client and they interact, via email, until the lessons are complete.
To date, more than 200 clients are enrolled in the distance education lessons and the system is
proving to be an effective alternative teaching method. Research was conducted using the NEP
distance education lessons to determine if distance education lessons are as effective as
traditional face-to-face nutrition education. Participants included 213 limited-resource adults
who were enrolled in NEP. The experimental group (n = 106) completed NEP utilizing distance
education, whereas the comparison group (n = 107) completed NEP via the traditional face-to-
face method. Results indicated that NEP distance education lessons were as effective for
teaching nutrition as the traditional face-to-face methods. Findings suggest that distance
education is an acceptable alternative to traditional face-to-face nutrition education. The
availability of nutrition education using online or mail lessons has made NEP available to
numerous individuals that may not have had the opportunity to learn the information otherwise.
This project was funded by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Expanded
Food and Nutrition Education Program.

Peggy Martin, Joyce Greving, Susie Uthoff, Renee Swears, Jill Weber, Diane Nelson

Spend Smart. Eat Smart Web Site

Spend Smart. Eat Smart is ISU Extension‟s way of offering information that can help families
overcome higher food prices.
Spend Smart. Eat Smart. is a Web site that has:
    Information help in 3 categories:
           o Planning to Shop includes a
               calculator for figuring USDAs cost of food at home
           o Shopping the Store includes 18
               questions to test your shopping knowledge
           o Preparing Meals includes a game
               for busy families to test skills balancing time, money and nutrition
       Each category has tips beyond the usual available information, along with recipes and
       shopping tips, and interactive learning experiences. Visitors can calculate their family‟s
       food dollars using the USDAs low-cost food plan, play the smart grocery shopping game
       or the Fast Food for Busy Families game.
    An electronic newsletter blog – a place to share ideas and questions related to shopping
       for nutritious food items.
A series of Extension publications are available to support the material on the Web site. The
publications – the 2066 series - can be downloaded from the ISU Extension online store, or
ordered from publications distribution. The individual publication titles are:
    PM 2066a Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt
    PM 2066b Meat, Poultry, Beans, and Nuts
    PM 2066c Fruit
    PM 2066d Vegetables
    PM 2066e Bread, Cereal, and Grains
    PM 2066f Smart Shopping Strategies
   Each publication has:
       o General information about the dietary guidelines for the particular food group.
       o A dollar-savings question and answer section where you can test your knowledge and
           learn more about making nutritious food purchases affordable.
       o Spend Smart strategies that offer help on unit price comparisons and hints on less
           expensive alternatives for healthier eating.
       o And additional resources that link visitors to publications and other websites with
           related information.
Watch YouTube video’s of recipes in the making. Watch a newlywed prepare Spend Smart. Eat
Smart. Recipes on YouTube; then try it on your own.
This project was funded by Iowa State University Extension, Excellence in Extension Fund, and
Dean LeBaron Hilton Fund.

Phelps, J. & Hermann, J.

Technology as a Means of Improving the Personal Touch of Cooperative Extension Programs

Use of technology is an excellent way to enhance specificity and impact of current Extension
initiatives and uncover new areas of cooperation through which the health of citizens served may
be improved. As stated on an Oklahoma State University Oklahoma Cooperative Extension
Service (OCES) web site, for us, it‟s personal: county based Extension educators work side-by-
side with residents to address local issues and concerns. Through the use of technology, we may
increase the personal approach to our commitment to community interests by incorporating
community perspectives into our impact initiatives. Use of digital recorders has made it possible
to engage groups and individuals within a community in an effort to gain their perspectives
regarding nutrition and physical activity related issues influencing their health and well-being.
Transcriptions of recordings are analyzed to identify core themes that emerge as having a bearing
on participant utilization of knowledge and experience gained through participation in OCES
programs. Barriers to incorporating science-based objective information offered by OCES
programs into real-world settings can be identified and addressed using strategies harvested from
conversations with community members. Nutrition educators may add these strategies to their
repertoire of resources as a means of promoting healthful lifestyle and behavior changes within
communities and among citizenry with whom they are engaged. The influx of technology into
Cooperative Extension Service is a beneficial partnership that helps guarantee its relevance for
servicing communities. At the same time, it is important to remember Cooperative Extension‟s
commitment to grass-roots ties with communities. As on-line resources grow in popularity and
web-based services pop up throughout the virtual world, it is essential to the veracity of
Cooperative Extension‟s mission and vision that we do not overlook the fundamental
significance of community voices in shaping how we address the needs of current and future
Extension participants. Digital recorders are technological tools that can ensure the voice of the
community will always be heard and aid in enhancing effectiveness of Extension services.
Funding for this project was provided by the SNAP-Ed grant.

Schuster, E., Keller, K. and Mehrle, D.

Training Educators to Deliver a New Curriculum Via Interactive Television

The current U.S. economic situation has impacted program functions such as professional
development. Grants are not immune from this since all University budgets are increasingly
scrutinized. In the spring of 2009, 110 University of Missouri Extension Family Nutrition
Program educators at 10 sites will participate in distance education training via interactive
television in conjunction with practicing the training material at the local training sites. The nine-
hour training will occur over two days. The subject matter of the training is a newly-revised
nutrition education curriculum for use with third grade students, which was piloted during its
development by at least one educator from the state‟s eight regions. At each training site,
educator who piloted the curriculum will guide their colleagues teaching an activity from the
revised curriculum. After the practice teaching for each lesson is completed, all sites will re-
convene on the air and will debrief about their experiences with a 4-H youth development state
specialist, curriculum coordinator and others around the state. This debriefing will be invaluable
for the educators so that they can address classroom management or other issues related to
teaching third graders. The scheduling of this training in April 2009 enables the educators to
practice the curriculum activities and prepare teaching visuals for four months before they begin
teaching the curriculum in the fall of 2009. Evaluation of the training included direct observation
of the training, surveys of the participants who attended the training and interviews with the
educators‟ supervisors. Preliminary analysis indicates that participants were more confident in
their ability to implement the revised curriculum and that the combination of local training with
the centralized (i.e. statewide) debriefing was successful. Suggestions to improve this training
mode primarily focused on ways to better use the available technology (e.g. increase local staff
familiarity with implementing an ITV, more effective scheduling of Powerpoint use, and
reducing the need for multiple technologies to be used simultaneously).
This project was partially funded by USDA‟s SNAP.

SNAP-Ed Connection, Food and Nutrition Information Center, National Agricultural Library
Primary Contact: Rachel L. Tobin, MS, RD

Nutrition Through the Seasons

Nutrition Through the Seasons is a new, unique web-based resource that highlights nutrition
education materials relevant to specific times of the year. It is designed to help SNAP-Ed
providers and other nutrition educators working with low income audiences find timely nutrition
materials and tools and plan appropriate seasonal programming for all ages. Nutrition Through
the Seasons is easy to navigate, with a practical organization of nutrition education materials.
Educators can simply select a season from the main page, and then search through resources
specific to that season. Materials are filed under seasonally appropriate nutrition education
topics that are tailored for low income audiences such as “Healthy, Thrifty Holiday Cooking”,
“SNAP-Ed Appropriate Gardening Resources”, “Food Preservation Resources”, and “Summer
Food Safety Resources”. Educators looking for month-specific resources can browse through
resources organized by month. Monthly resources address appropriate health observances and
holidays, such as Health Literacy Month in October, and Older Americans Month in May.
Lesser know celebrations are also noted, such as “Prune Breakfast Month” in January and “Soft
Pretzel Month” in April. In addition, the monthly section of Nutrition Through the Seasons
features suitable monthly highlights from the SNAP-Ed Connection Resource Finder database.
A distinctive feature of Nutrition Through the Seasons is a seasonal produce guide titled, What’s
Available? This guide provides links and resources on fruits and vegetables that are in season
and abundantly available throughout each of the four seasons. What’s Available? links to
shopping, storage, and preparation tips, recipes and activities for over 50 fruits and vegetables.
Nutrition Through the Seasons is available to all users on the SNAP-Ed Connection Web site at, by clicking on the link from the home page.
Funding Source: SNAP-Ed Connection is funded by the United States Department of
Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service and maintained at the National Agricultural
Library's Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC) in collaboration with the University of

SNAP-Ed Connection, Food and Nutrition Information Center, National Agricultural Library
Primary Contact: Rachel L. Tobin, MS, RD

SNAP-Ed Connection Recipe Finder Database

The SNAP-Ed Connection Recipe Finder is designed to connect nutrition education providers in
the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other Food and Nutrition Service
(FNS) programs with hundreds of low cost, healthy recipes. A customized search engine makes
navigating this database-driven web-based tool easy and helps educators to find the perfect
recipes to meet their needs.
The Recipe Finder database is unique from other recipe database in that it contains cost estimate
data and nutritional information for every recipe in the database, making it a perfect tool for
nutrition educators working with low income audiences. The recipe cost estimate is based on
data from the AC Nielson 2001 Homescan panel, and is updated annually using the Consumer
Price Index (CPI). This data may assist nutrition educators in their efforts to help clients learn
about food budgeting and food resource management. Nutrition information is provided for each
recipe in the familiar form of the Nutrition Facts panel, which educators can use to enforce label
reading skills. Nutrient analyses were completed using ESHA Food Processor software.
In addition to being low cost and healthy, all recipes in the Recipe Finder database require basic
equipment, use relatively few, readily available ingredients, can be prepared quickly, are easy to
read with clear instructions, and use precise and simple measurements. Each recipe has been
reviewed by a minimum of 2 registered dietitians to ensure compatibility with the 2005 Dietary
Guidelines for Americans before being approved for inclusion. Additional features include a
ratings feature, where users can provide feedback on a recipe, and a shopping list feature.
Since it was first introduced, the Recipe Finder has been met with a great deal of acclaim and it
continues to be a vibrant and dynamic tool. Last year the Spanish version of the Recipe Finder,
Buscador de Recetas was introduced in response to user feedback. This year, nutrition educators
can look forward to the addition of 200 new recipes, as well as the launch of a new cookbook
feature, which will allow educators to design and print their own personalized cookbooks using
the Recipe Finder recipes. Funding Source: SNAP-Ed Connection is funded by the United
States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service and maintained at the
National Agricultural Library's Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC) in collaboration
with the University of Maryland.

Joanne Kinsey

Virtual Teamwork With a Wiki

In today‟s world of work, Extension educators are often collaborating with colleagues on
projects, articles, and grant proposals. While collaborating at a distance was a challenge in the
past, it is now easy to collaborate as a virtual team using the latest Internet technologies. A Wiki
is a collaborative web tool available in the Internet. Extension educators might want to
collaborate on a curriculum, journal article or PowerPoint presentation, all team members can
contribute and edit the documents that are saved to the Wiki. Wikis allow the virtual team to
keep track of their work, edits, conversations and files. A Wiki can be password protected so
only virtual team members can access the website. Wiki tools can be found easily and free of
cost on the Internet. Wikis usually have a variety of features such as; document storage and filing
systems, links to video clips (YouTube, TeacherTube, etc.), links to PowerPoint presentations,
links to websites, calendars, and automatic email notification systems. Virtual team members
can work on their own time schedule to read documents and make suggestions for changes by
editing the document directly on the Wiki. Each team member is assured of reading the latest
draft of a document because the shared files are in one location. Virtual team members no longer
have to worry about saving the most recent version of a file because the file scan always be
accessed on the Wiki. To get started using a simple and free Wiki, go to The
steps to create a Wiki will literally take a few minutes. Once the Wiki is created you can begin
uploading files that you will want to share with your virtual team. Wiki team members can be
invited by adding their email address to the users list. The Wiki will automatically generate an
email message inviting the new users to the Wiki. Connecting with virtual teams using a Wiki
can save the users not only time, also money on travel. Collaborating through a Wiki enables all
virtual team members the opportunity to provide input. Extension educators can work smarter
(not harder) using a Wiki.

Alice Henneman

Supermarket Savings: Using a Web page, YouTube, FaceBook and Listservs to Educate
Consumers on How Small Changes Add Up!

Helping people save on groceries during these tough economic times was the goal of the Web-
based materials, Supermarket Savings: 16 Tips that Can Total BIG bucks. The objective was to
increase consumers‟ knowledge of how small changes in their grocery-shopping behaviors can
result in significant savings over a period of time. Having enough money during these uncertain
financial times is on the minds of many people. The American Psychological Association‟s
2008 Stress in America Survey indicated the declining state of the Nation‟s economy was taking
a toll on the physical and emotional health of people nationwide. About half of those surveyed
indicated they are increasingly stressed about their ability to provide for their family‟s basic
needs. The target audience for Supermarket Savings was the general population of consumers
trying to purchase food on a reduced or uncertain income. “Supermarket Savings: 16 Tips that
Total BIG Bucks” materials were made available directly to consumers through tips and a slide
show on a Web page and a video on YouTube; and indirectly through other consumer educators
as a downloadable PowerPoint and handout from the Web. They were promoted through
listservs and the author‟s FaceBook page. There were over 13,900 page views for Supermarket
Savings tips during the first five months online; 94% (total n=207) of respondents to an online
survey stated these tips will help them save money with an average savings of $17/week or close
to $900/year. The PowerPoint version, which was put online later, was downloaded by 1,506
other educators during first two weeks online, increasing potential outreach. Almost 600 people
viewed the YouTube video during the first three months after it was posted. Giving specific
examples and showing the cumulative effect over time provided an incentive for making
changes. As one respondent remarked, “I think pointing out the amount of savings for the year is
eye-opening.” This project was funded through regular office operating expenditures.

Georgia Jones, Associate Professor of Nutrition and Health Sciences
Tracy Pracheil, 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator

Extension Teaching, Virtually Speaking: Discovering Foods in a Virtual 4-H Club Setting

University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) Extension has initiated an innovative educational
program, Virtual 4-H Clubs to provide 4-H youth and volunteer leaders with an opportunity to
actively engage in the use of technology to increase their knowledge in a particular content area.
Virtual 4-H Club members, ages 14-19, use technology to connect with other youth who have an
interest in learning more about a particular 4-H content area. Virtual 4-H Clubs take the
traditional 4-H club environment to a new level by using technology, through both asynchronous
interaction [ex. online discussion forums, e-mail, course management system (Blackboard)] and
synchronous interaction [ex. video podcasts, live chat sessions, Web seminars (Adobe Connect)].
Club members and volunteer leaders participate in club meetings from their home, community,
or school. Traditional club activities, like pledges, roll call, youth leadership and service
opportunities, are present within the Virtual 4-H Club setting; yet, the appearance of these
activities is presented through the use of technology. Each Virtual 4-H Club has one particular
focus area. In the program‟s first year of existence, eight youth members participated in the
Virtual 4-H Club – Discovering Food. Youth learned from and interacted with UNL faculty
through the use of technology to discover the scientific principles of food preparation.
Participants explored the scientific principles of numerous foods by viewing video podcasts,
completing experiments, blogging about their experiences, and presenting lessons learned.
Experiments conducted by club members focused on gluten (biscuits, cake, yeast breads),
potatoes (French fries), eggs (egg cookery, mayonnaise, meringues) and ice cream. One hundred
percent of the youth stated that information presented was easy for them to understand; 67
percent stated that information presented made them want to learn more about the science of
food; and 83 percent stated that the club experience made them want to learn more about college
majors and becoming a student at UNL. This project was funded by University of Nebraska–
Lincoln Extension.


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