Public Info

Steps to Health and Wealth™ Online Challenge Begins April 15

Union County, NJ – Just in time to jumpstart spring, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has introduced the “Spring 2012 Small Steps to Health and Wealth Challenge.”  The free six-week program, open to all Union County residents, is an online learning experience developed by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County, supported in part by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. It kicks off on from Sunday, April 15th and lasts through Saturday, May 26, 2012.

“By allowing you to break up your goals into daily actions, the Spring Challenge is a wonderful way to begin or continue your journey towards a healthier, financially secure life,” noted Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “The Freeholder Board is proud to support this beneficial program.”

The Spring Challenge is part of Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ (SSHW), a national Cooperative Extension program built around a framework of 25 research-based behavior change strategies.

The “Spring 2012 SSHW Challenge” is based on the performance of ten recommended practices on a daily basis: five that involve health and nutrition and five that involve financial management. Participants can also replace one daily health activity and one daily personal finance activity with a unique daily personal challenge of their own.

“Doing even one of the ten recommended daily practices is a great way to get started,” said Dr. Karen Ensle, RD, Rutgers professor and Family and Community Health Sciences Educator for the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County. Dr. Ensle developed the Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ program with Dr. Barbara O’Neill CFP, also of Rutgers.

As part of the challenge, points are assigned for each completed action, which can be entered online. The point system allows for a total of 700 points per week and a possible challenge-wide total of 4,200 points. Prizes will be awarded to those who report the highest point totals.

Participants can also track and compare their personal progress with the average scores of others taking part in the challenge using the bar graph on the website.

To sign up for the SSHW Challenge, follow the “Challenges” link on the Small Steps to Health and Wealth™Web site at  Set up a user name and password and download a simple one-page user’s guide with instructions on how to proceed. Enroll in the Challenge titled “Spring 2012 SSHW Challenge.” Paper tracking forms can be downloaded to keep track of daily activities until they are entered online.

The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County is supported in part by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. To contact the Union County Extension by phone, call 908-654-9854


For more information on any Union County press release, please contact Sebastion D’Elia, Communications Director for the County of Union, or a designee listed at the top of this press release. Please join the County of Union online at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter at


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Contact your local Extension Office for information regarding special needs or accommodations. Contact the State Extension Director’s Office if you have concerns related to discrimination,
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