NORTHFIELD, Ill. – In an effort to expand its global strategy of encouraging healthy lifestyles, the Kraft Foods Foundation (KFF) plans to invest more than $7 million in new programs in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

"We can help improve public health by focusing on our mission to fight hunger and promote healthy lifestyles across the globe,” said Nicole Robinson, KFF vice president. “These four extraordinary programs will help bring that to life across Europe. We're proud to partner with respected local organizations whose work at the ground level allows us to meet the unique needs of each community."

Partners in this joint effort include KFF, Save the Children Italy, French Red Cross, Klasse2000 in Germany and the Alicia Foundation in Spain. Each program will focus on nutrition education, health and wellness and active living, among other things.

KFF is paying for 220 refrigeration units to add to French Red Cross locations throughout that country, which will allow for distributing critical items, including meat, fruits, vegetables and dairy. During the next three years, the units are predicted to help distribute up to 50 million more meals to those in need.

In partnership with Klasse2000, KFF plans to launch more than 800 healthy lifestyle classes for first through fourth graders in elementary schools throughout Germany, reaching 20,000 children over the next five years. Klasse2000 is the leading organization in Germany for in-school health programs. Class topics include nutrition, exercise, relaxation, life skills and saying no to tobacco and alcohol.

Almost one-fourth of Italian children are facing a weight problem. As a result, the Foundation plans to help increase physical activity and improve eating for children throughout Italy in partnership with Save the Children. Ten Italian cities will get healthy-living classes. Children, parents and teachers will learn about leading healthier lives at elementary schools, sports facilities, parks and community centers. Funding will also help improve sports facilities, playgrounds, gyms and recreational centers.

Class activities will include exercise, workshops on nutrition and healthy eating, sports activities and games, with a goal to teach children that staying fit and healthy can be simple and fun. Over the next three years, the program will benefit more than 66,000 people, including 32,000 children.

Two in 10 children in Spain are obese, a number that has nearly doubled over the past 20 years, according to the International Association for Obesity. Along with the Alicia Foundation, KFF intends to reach more than 30,000 children, parents and teachers in 100 schools over the next three years with in-school health education programs and cooking workshops. The program will require students to track their daily food intake and exercise routine.

KFF supports programs on most continents. More programs are taking place in the US, Indonesia, the Philippines, Russia and Brazil.