Steps To Health And Wealth™ Online Challenge Begins Jan. 15

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UNION COUNTY – Just in time to boost New Year’s resolutions for improving health and personal finances, Union County introduces the “Winter 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, Jan. 15 and lasts through Saturday, Feb. 25.

“The Winter Challenge is an effective way to convert ambitious New Year’s resolutions, like improving health and saving money, into daily action steps,” noted Freeholder Chairman Deborah Scanlon. “The Freeholder Board is proud to support this beneficial program.”

The Winter 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 “Winter 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 on the path to better health and improved financial security,” said Dr. Karen Ensle, RD, a Rutgers professor who is the 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.

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 for participants 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 “Winter 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 1-908-654-9854

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