Sustainable Health

Healthy Challenge

The Healthy Challenge is a workplace wellness program that combines team building techniques with gentle competition to move people into healthier daily habits.

The Program
Rules & Scoring
  • The Program

    The Healthy Challenge is a workplace wellness program that combines team building techniques with gentle competition to move people into healthier daily habits. The program accommodates all fitness levels, from the couch potato to the marathon runner because everyone can participate at their own level. During the Healthy Challenge, individual participants earn points for healthy behaviors such as daily exercise and different eating choices.

    How does it work?

    HC-Report_thbThe Healthy Challenge lasts from six to 12 weeks and begins with the formation of teams comprised, for the most part, of ASU Biodesign employees, either through a self-selection process or a random drawing. Teams consist of three to eight people, and the weekly scores used for competition are a team average. Once the teams are formed, imaginative team names are a must, as well as the choice of a team captain. Each week, participants report their weekly point total to their team captain who enters it on a spreadsheet that creates an average team score. The team captain then forwards that score to the Healthy Challenge administrator. All team results are posted, and the competition is on!

    For information on specific components of the Healthy Challenge, or if you are a participant, click on the navigation selections above.

  • How to begin:

    1. Form a team of 3-8 members. For the current Healthy Challenge, team members must be employees of Arizona State University.
    2. Choose a team captain who will be the contact person for your team. The captain’s responsibilities include collecting team members’ weekly scores and reporting the team’s weekly score.
    3. Pick a team name – the more imaginative the better!
    4. Earn points by exercising, eating a healthier diet, and maintaining good health habits. Scoresheets are provided to participants to track weekly points (Monday to Sunday).


    Earning points:

    • Exercise of any type is acceptable — walking, running, biking, yoga, swimming – any activity that is deliberately chosen for exercise.
    • Points are awarded for 15-minute increments of activity, up to one hour each day, maximum 24 points per week.



    One point is earned each day for:

    • five or more servings of fruits and vegetables,
    • one serving of whole grains,
    • eating a healthy breakfast.

    One point is earned each week for:

    • Eating one meatless dinner on a day of choice


    • One point per day is awarded for sleeping 7 or more hours a night.
    • Taking a 15-minute stress break each day earns another daily point.
    • Brushing and flossing teeth once each day earns one point.
  • Am I required to go on a diet?

    The Healthy Challenge does not require a special diet.

    Am I required to exercise a certain amount?

    You don’t have to be an athlete to participate in the Healthy Challenge. Each participant determines how much exercise they do each day. One point is awarded for each 15-minute segment of exercise up to one hour each day and with a weekly limit of 24 points.

    What kinds of exercise are acceptable?

    Exercise is defined as any activity that is deliberately chosen for exercise. Running, biking, swimming, and walking are all fine. But you can also use yoga, weightlifting, Zumba, or Pilates.

    Do I have to share my spreadsheet results?

    Only you see your scoring spreadsheet. Once a week you report your score for that week to your team captain, who will use it to calculate the weekly team average score.

    What kind of teamwork is required?

    Team members can offer each other support and encouragement for their efforts and reinforce good health and nutrition behaviors.

    What does “competing” mean in this context? What are the prizes?

    At the end of the Healthy Challenge, teams with top scores that earn them first, second and third place will receive prizes. The prizes are not monetarily valuable; the real value of the Healthy Challenge is an individual one received by participants who develop a healthier lifestyle.

    Are pedometers or other personal activity tracking devices required? If so, does the program provide them or do I have to buy my own?

    Pedometers or other devices are not required and they are not supplied. These types of devices can be helpful because of the measurements they provide but they are not a mandatory part of the Healthy Challenge.

    If I am a student or don’t work for the Biodesign Institute, can I still participate?

    We want as many participants as possible in the Healthy Challenge; however, some services are tied to employment at ASU. Contact us if you’re unsure how to proceed.

    What does being a Team Captain require?

    The team captain is the point of contact for the team. Team members will report their weekly score to the team captain, who will add them to a Healthy Challenge spreadsheet that will calculate the team’s weekly average score. The team captain forwards that to the Healthy Challenge administrator. Highest team scores at the end of the Healthy Challenge win prizes.

    What kind of results can I expect from participating in the Healthy Challenge?

    People who have done the Healthy Challenge happily point to healthier behaviors they have adopted. Every participant decides to do the Healthy Challenge for personal reasons; some may want to lose weight or learn how to sleep better or eat healthier. Because of this, results vary. But one popular word used to describe the Healthy Challenge is “fun”!

  • Nutrition

    nutritionGood health requires good nutrition. Here are some ideas for developing or maintaining good nutrition.

    General Info:
    Choose my plate
    Harvard Healthy Eating Plate
    Healthy Holiday Eating

    Online Tools:
    Calorie King

    Local Resources:
    Farmers Markets Phoenix
    Community Gardens in Phoenix


    Sleep & Relaxation

    What’s more important: an extra hour of sleep or getting up early to exercise?
    ASPScience – What If You Stopped Sleeping?
    The importance of sleep - Getting sufficient sleep is extremely important for maintaining a variety of bodily functions.
    Sleep Hygiene - Good sleeping habits are an important part of getting quality sleep.  Studies have shown a strong correlation between practicing good sleep hygiene and getting restful sleep.
    Reduce your work stress - Stress can have a huge impact on your health.  There are easy things you can do to reduce your stress from work.
    Relaxation Resources - Meditation and other relaxation techniques are a great way to reduce stress.
    Ways to relax your stress away - Not sure how to manage your stress?  Here are some great stress relief techniques to improve your mental and physical performance.

  • Report Summary:

    HC-Report_thbThe Center for Sustainable Health organized a six-week Healthy Challenge in the fall of 2013, with nearly 400 participants and 58 teams completing the program. Participants included staff administrators, researchers, local business partners, and ASU Center Directors alike. Key components of the program include a point-based scoring system to catalogue healthy behaviors, motivating messaging, and a library of online resources and support that allows participants to personally engage at different levels of intensity in numerous ways.

    A survey during the first week of the program measured participants’ motivations and personal goals. Similarly, results from post-program survey captured qualitative measurements of the program’s value and impact. Throughout the program, participants shared anecdotes about their experiences. Accomplishments included reports of weight loss, more sleep, a better diet, and even cleaner teeth!

    This report provides an overview of the program’s history, details on operations, survey results, interest-generating activities, participant testimonials, and notes on lessons learned to inform future programs.

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