Public Info

Another Round of “Small Steps to Heath and Wealth” for Union County

Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to invite the public to join the Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ Spring 2013 SSHW Challenge. This free online household wellness and budgeting tool has proved help thousands to practice healthier habits while saving money.

SSHW was created in 2006 by Rutgers University nutrition expert Dr. Karen Ensle, who is head of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County, and Rutgers financial expert Dr. Barbara O’Neill. It has since been adopted by the national Extension system under the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The Freeholder Board is very proud to say that this fun, effective learning program was first developed through the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Program in Union County and is now available across the country,” said Freeholder Chairman Linda Carter. “I encourage everyone to check out the SSHW website at Rutgers University and give it a try.”

The Spring 2013 SSHW Challenge is a free five-week online program starting on Sunday, April 14 and ending on Saturday, May 18, 2013.

It is built around simple strategies that have proved to be effective, based on current research on behavior change. This approach is characteristic of the Extension model.  The Cooperative Extension System was established by Congress in 1914 to connect members of the general public directly with reliable, research-based information that they can put to use in their own lives.

“It has been well documented that, when people monitor their behavior and measure how they’re doing, they are often inspired to do better and achieve positive results,” explained Dr. Ensle. “The Challenge is a great way to convert goals, like losing weight and saving money, into daily action steps.”

The SSHW Challenge is based on a group of simple, common-sense recommendations to be practiced on a daily basis. That includes eating nutritious foods, getting some physical activity, keeping track of spending, and using the Internet, books, media or other forms of learning to improve knowledge of nutrition and personal finances.

Participants can also tailor the recommendations to include their own unique daily challenges.

Points are awarded for following each daily recommendation. As participants enter their personal data online, they get to see their daily point totals along with a bar graph that compares their progress to the average scores of everyone else participating in the Challenge.

At the end of the Challenge, prizes are awarded to those with the highest scores.

To sign up for the Spring 2013 SSHW Challenge, visit the Rutgers SSHW website, and follow the “Challenges” link.

For more information about all Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County programs, call the Extension offices in Westfield at 908-654-9854 or visit



For more information on any Union County press release, please contact Sebastian 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