Sacramento, California (NAPSI) - A healthier environment for yourself and others may be in your hands...if, that is, your hands are on a keyboard signing up for an online community of diverse individuals and organizations united to improve the health of all Americans. “Heart disease and stroke are leading causes of death and disability in theUnited States, and the state of health in many multicultural communities, especially among African Americans and Latinos, is lagging behind the rest of the nation,” says Clyde Yancy, M.D. and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association volunteer.

The American Heart Association—the nation’s oldest, largest volunteer—based organization—is committed to being a catalyst for change through initiatives like EmPowered To Serve. “When people join EmPowered To Serve, they have the opportunity to assess their personal health and the health of their environment, and work on an action plan to improve problem areas. The aim of the platform is for communities to achieve at least a 10 percent improvement in health, which is measured through a post-action plan assessment,” said Dr. Yancy.

What Else You Can Do

Here are small steps you can take to make big changes in your community.

1. Plant a garden.

2. Organize a walking or fitness group with friends in your neighborhood.

3. Provide healthy snacks for youth activities.

4. Challenge neighbors to ride bikes to work or school.

5. Advocate for healthy vending machines in your community.

6. Initiate CPR training.

7. Advocate to take fried foods or sugar-laden beverages off the menu at church or community events.

8. Lead a healthy cooking session at a community event or share healthy recipes. Become a “Change Agent” and help to make a measurable impact on the health of your community. Visit to learn how.