Some of today’s most pressing issues in society include the prevalence of chronic diseases, food, and financial insecurities. (The UF/IFAS Extension Roadmap, 2013). Addressing these challenges, UF/IFAS Extension Central District Family and Consumer Sciences county faculty offered a comprehensive high impact program: Healthy People, Healthy Finances. This program provided individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to make positive health and economic changes.
Healthy People focused on reducing risk of chronic disease and foodborne illness. It included making positive, health behavior changes such as weight loss, improved dietary habits and health parameters, along with the practicing safe food preservation techniques. Healthy Finances engaged individuals to effectively manage their money and obtain affordable housing. Programs were delivered using a multi-platform approach throughout UF/IFAS Extension’s Central District counties. Participants engaged in group education as well as one-on-one coaching.
Results of programming include: 86% (393/458) adopted a healthier diet, 46% (80/175) improved health parameters including body mass index, blood pressure, blood glucose, or physical fitness, 67% (416/623) set financial goals, and 30% (2717/9120) tracked their spending, as well as 19 foreclosures were prevented, and twenty homes were purchased.
Why do these results matter? Making positive, health related lifestyle choices can protect against chronic diseases and may also reduce mortality from such diseases. (Siboni, et al., Yoon, et al., World Health Organization). Setting financial goals and tracking spending reflect two key “indicators towards financial well-being” (Pertanika, 2019). In addition, homeownership plays a significant role in building strong, stable communities (Varady, 2017). Homeowners have a much greater stake in their neighborhoods and are often more involved in their community (Gilderbloom, 2022).
Healthy People, Healthy Finances has played a vital role in helping UF/IFAS Extension’s Central District counties to build strong and stable communities. This high impact program, “empowered individuals and families to build healthy lives and economic success” (The UF/IFAS Extension Roadmap, 2013).
Co-authored by Scott E. Taylor and Wendy Lynch.
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