SPRINGFIELD, NJ – The Springfield Board of Health Department came up with something special for Springfield families.  It is offering Springfield’s Healthy Family Challenge for the first time.  All that is required is your attendance and willingness to participate with a goal of developing some simple healthier habits leading to a happier and healthier life.

The Challenge is a six week program held in Meisel Park starting Wednesday May 3.  It is a program meant for everyone; all members of a family.  Each session will go from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  The goal of this program is to start changing a few health habits of the participants and by doing that, they hope to begin to change the environment of the broader community.

A major influence behind the program is the book The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest by Dan Buettner.  According to a summary on Amazon.com, the book is “…on longevity, drawing on his research from extraordinarily long-live communities—Blue Zones—around the globe to highlight lifestyle, diet, outlook, and stress-coping practices that will add years to your life and life to your years.”  The book was published in 2010 and since there was a second edition released and other related books.   

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The sessions will focus on six characteristics identified by Buettner and they are nutrition, moderate exercise, engagement in family life, engagement in social activity, stress reduction, and relaxation techniques.  Each session is designed to teach you better habits that will lead to improved fitness and hopefully, a longer more active life.

Each weekly session will include a discussion on nutrition, walking and movement, and then yoga and relaxation techniques.   The first session will include a discussion of the program, stretching exercises, relaxation techniques, walking on one of three trails in Meisel Park and ending with a discussion on nutrition.

A member of the Board of Health, Dr. Lisa Stettner is one of the principal drivers of the program.  She is actively involved with the concept and structure of the program.  Dr. Stettner is a pediatrician and last summer founded ‘Inspire Me Healthy’.  It has a similar focus.  She attended the University of New England’s medical school and also has a Masters in nutrition from Columbia.

Maya Lordo attended New Jersey City University where she got her M.S.   Also, she is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES); a Registered Environmental Health Specialist; and a 200 RYT certified in yoga teacher, which means she completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training program that is registered with the Yoga Alliance.  Maya will be teaching the relaxation techniques and yoga exercises.    

The people from the Heath Department actively involved in the program are Lindsay Prewitt, Health Educator; April Manis, an intern; and Josh Gutkin, an intern.

Lindsay Prewitt is a Health Educator for the department.  She is a graduate of William Patterson University with a degree in Health Education.  She is an CHES and has worked in the substance abuse prevention field.

Manis is graduating from College of New Jersey with a focus on Public Health.  Gutkin is also a graduating from the College of New Jersey and is majoring in Public Health.

So, join the program May 3.  It is something special only offered in Springfield.