The American Heart Association (AHA) is launching its new Get to Goal hypertension management program and is accepting applications from L.A. County-based potential participants until March 17.

The idea behind the campaign is to promote a healthy lifestyle, including strategies to reduce hypertension among African American and Latino adults.

The four-month program includes interactive health education classes and access to a health mentor who will help set goals, create action plans and monitor progress.

The health education classes offered by the Network for a Healthy California (Network) will cover the health risks of excessive sodium consumption, portion control, reading food labels, the health benefits of physical activity and disease prevention.

“The Network offers tools and resources to transform communities to make healthy eating and daily physical activity a way of life with the goal of preventing obesity and other serious health problems like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke,” said Ebone Fuller, African American campaign coordinator, Network for a Healthy California.

“More than 76 million Americans have high blood pressure,” said Alice Benjamin, RN, clinical nurse specialist and American Heart Association spokesperson. “Of those, 15 million are unaware of their condition. Of the 61 million who know they have high blood pressure, 18 million are untreated. Of the 43 million who are getting treatment, 21 million remain with uncontrolled hypertension. This is a health concern of epidemic proportions that we are trying to address through Get to Goal.”

In California, Los Angeles County has the highest percentage of African Americans diagnosed with high blood pressure. African Americans with high blood pressure have an 80 percent chance of dying from stroke and 20 percent chance of developing heart disease.

Among Latinos, an estimated 25 percent of the population in Los Angeles has high blood pressure.

To participate in Get to Goal Los Angeles, visit for the African American program and for the Latino program.

The American Heart Association’s mission is building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Its goal by 2020 is to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent. Get to Goal aims to address one of the major risk factors for these diseases: high blood pressure.