Kraft Foods is leading a charge against obesity by capping portion sizes and providing more nutrition information. Like other food companies, Kraft is facing a growing concern and even lawsuits due to rising obesity rates.

The maker of Oscar Meyer meats, Oreo cookies and Velveeta cheese plans to attack the obesity epidemic by limiting portion sizes in single-serve packages, eliminating all in-school marketing, providing nutrition labeling in all markets worldwide and alternative products where applicable.

“The rise in obesity is a complex public health challenge of global proportions,” says Betsy D. Holden, co-chief executive officer of Kraft Foods. “Just as obesity has many causes, it can be solved only if all sectors of society do their part to help. Kraft is committed to product choices and marketing practices that will help encourage healthy lifestyles and make it easier to eat and live better.”

Food companies and fast food chains are facing increased criticism for producing unhealthy, fatty foods. Obesity among adults in the United States has doubled since 1980, and tripled among adolescents, according to the U.S. surgeon general.

Earlier this year, activists filed a lawsuit in California seeking to ban Oreos. The lawsuit was withdrawn in less than two weeks, but the attorney contends the news coverage made people aware of alleged health risks of eating Oreos.

Kraft plans to focus its global efforts on product nutrition, marketing practices, consumer information and public advocacy. In addition, the company will form an advisory council that will include experts on obesity, nutrition, physical activity, public health, human behavior, nutrient fortification and lifestyle education and intervention programs.

The company said it is targeting the end of 2003 to complete the development of standards and measures for portion size and other items. Implementation will begin in 2004 and will probably take two to three years to complete.

You can learn more about Kraft’s obesity campaign at: http://kraft.com/obesity.

More information about Kraft's commitments to help address obesity is available on the company's corporate Web site at http://kraft.com/obesity.