With two-thirds of Americans overweight — and about one-third of them obese — diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease run alarmingly rampant in today’s nation.

A national epidemic calls for a national intervention. Enter The National Forum For Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, a coalition comprised of more than 80 U.S. and international public and private organizations including academic, advocacy, faith, and policy-setting groups. This non-profit volunteer coalition has launched a new initiative to lengthen life expectancy in the U.S.: The Move With The Mayor Challenge. This collaborative effort of city mayors and the National Forum aims to fight heart disease — America’s top cause of death — by simply getting citizens to move more.

Mayors from the cities of Columbia, South Carolina; Green Bay, Wisconsin.; Lorain, Ohio; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.; and West Chicago, Illinois have joined with The National Forum in inviting citizens to walk with their mayors each week from September 1 to September 29 (World Heart Day). These sessions are meant to demonstrate that walking is simple to fit into busy schedules and can significantly improve public health.

“Walking is one of the easiest ways to lower a person’s chances of heart disease and its risk factors including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes,” said National Forum Executive Director John Clymer in a press release. “Research shows that walking as little as thirty minutes a day can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.”

The other component of this equation, of course, is choosing healthier foods — and reducing or eliminating animal products and refined sugar is an excellent way to start. The American Heart Association cites numerous studies showing a correlation between plant-based diets and reduced risk of obesity, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, and even some forms of cancer.

The more America gets moving and starts eating healthier foods, the better the chances of fighting obesity and extending the lives of citizens.