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Home Policy and public affairs WCRF International Food Policy Framework for Healthy Diets: NOURISHING

WCRF International Food Policy Framework for Healthy Diets: NOURISHING

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The NOURISHING Framework was developed by WCRF International in order to:

  • Formalise a comprehensive package of policies to promote healthier eating and prevent obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that is applicable globally;
  • Provide options within the framework that allow policy-makers flexibility to shape a response suitable for their national/local contexts and target populations;
  • Establish a framework for reporting, categorising and monitoring policy actions around the world, and through which the policy evidence can be systematically categorised, updated, interpreted and then communicated

We encourage you to use the interactive NOURISHING Framework below. By clicking on the links you will be able to find out more about the evidence supporting each policy area and discover some examples of the different policy actions that have been taken around the world.

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Food environment N Nutrition label standards and regulations on the use of claims and implied claims on foods e.g. Nutrient lists on food packages; clearly visible ‘interpretive’ and calorie labels; menu, shelf labels; rules on nutrient & health claims

O Offer healthy foods and set standards in public institutions and other specific settings e.g. Fruit and vegetable programmes; standards in education, work, health facilities; award schemes; choice architecture

U Use economic tools to address food affordability and purchase incentives e.g. Targeted subsidies; price promotions at point of sale; unit pricing; health-related food taxes

R Restrict food advertising and other forms of commercial promotion e.g. Restrict advertising to children that promotes unhealthy diets in all forms of media; sales promotions; packaging; sponsorship

I Improve the quality of the whole food supply e.g. Reformulation to reduce salt and fats; elimination of transfats; reduce energy density of processed foods; portion size limits

S Set incentives and rules to create a healthy retail environment e.g. Incentives for shops to locate in underserved areas; planning restrictions on food outlets; in-store promotions

Food system H Harness the food supply chain and actions across sectors to ensure coherence with health e.g. Supply-chain incentives for production; public procurement through ‘short’ chains; health-in-all policies; governance structures for multi-sectoral engagement

Behavious change communication I Inform people about food and nutrition through public awareness e.g. Education about food-based dietary guidelines, mass media, social marketing; community and public information campaigns

N Nutrition advice and counselling in health care settings e.g. Nutrition advice for at-risk individuals; telephone advice and support; clinical guidelines for health professionals on effective interventions for nutrition

G Give nutrition education and skills e.g. Nutrition, cooking/food production skills on education curricula; workplace health schemes; health literacy programmes


© WCRF International 2013

The NOURISHING framework places policies into three broad and interlinked domains: food environment, food systems and behaviour change communication. The evidence shows that each domain is important in influencing how and what we eat.

Food environments are the combined conditions and circumstances in which people develop their eating behaviours and make their food choices – as such they are a significant influence on what we eat.

Food systems underpin food environments and, through their effects on culture and social norms, influence behaviours.

Behaviour change communication is necessary to enable people to better respond to changes in the environment, and demand change.

Across the three domains, there are ten policy areas. To develop an effective response to unhealthy eating, governments should implement policy actions from all of the ten policy areas. These actions can be developed and implemented to fit their regional, national or local contexts and populations.

The WCRF International NOURISHING framework is consistent with and supportive of the list of policy options included in the WHO’s Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (2013–2020).

The NOURISHING framework is also consistent with and supports the work of INFORMAS (International Network for Food and Obesity/NCDs Research, Monitoring and Action Support). This global network aims to monitor, benchmark and support actions to create healthy food environments, including through actions governing labelling, provision of foods in specific settings, prices, advertising and promotion, composition across the food supply, retail provision, and trade between countries. It has also developed a Government Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) to assess the extent of government policy implementation against international best practice.

We hope the NOURISHING Framework proves a useful tool for the policy, research and advocacy community and encourage you to use it in your work. Please send any feedback to policy@wcrf.org, and acknowledge WCRF International as the originators. We are developing a process to keep you updated on NOURISHING. If you are interested in being updated (including updates to the website) please e-mail your contact details to policy@wcrf.org with NOURISHING in the subject line.