NOURISHING is a tool designed to help policymakers, researchers and civil society organisations worldwide take action to tackle unhealthy diets.

NOURISHING comprises our innovative policy framework, which formalises a comprehensive package of policies to promote healthy diets and reduce obesity and non-communicable diseases.

Each letter in the word NOURISHING represents one of ten areas where governments need to take action.

N = Nutrition label standards and regulations on the use of claims and implied claims on food
O = Offer healthy food and set standards in public institutions and other specific settings
U = Use economic tools to address food affordability & purchase incentives
R = Restrict food advertising and other forms of commercial promotion
I = Improve nutritional quality of the whole food supply
S = Set incentives and rules to create a healthy retail and food service environment
H = Harness food supply chain & actions across sectors to ensure coherence with health
I = Inform people about food & nutrition through public awareness
N = Nutrition advice and counselling in health care settings
G = Give nutrition education and skills

These 10 areas take place across three domains: food environment, food system and behaviour change communication. Each domain is important in influencing what we eat.


Accompanying the NOURISHING framework is our policy database: this provides a regularly updated list of implemented government policy actions from around the world.

Why do you only include "implemented government policies" in the database?

It is not enough for legislation or regulations simply to exist. In order to have any impact, policies need to be implemented. We have a verification process in place to ensure that the policies included in NOURISHING have been implemented. Please refer to our methods document, which explains how we update and populate NOURISHING, including the verification process.

How many implemented government policy actions does the database hold?

The database currently includes over 515 implemented government policy actions across 130 countries (more than half of all countries in the world) and five regional bodies (Caribbean Community (CARICOM), European Union, Gulf Cooperation Council, Mercosur and Nordic Cooperation Region).

Why does the country filter not list all countries?

The country filter only lists countries for which we have policies in our database. If a country you are interested in is not included in the drop-down menu, it means that we are not aware of an existing implemented policy to promote healthy diets in this country. Should you know of a policy in this country which you would like to see in our database, please email policy@wcrf.org.

How often do you update the database?

We update the policy database three to four times a year. We identify any specific policy actions that have been updated or added since the last update, as well as new evaluations, by including the date of the update underneath the policy description in the following format: “Information updated dd/mm/yy” or "Evaluation added dd/mm/yy", highlighted in yellow. We send out an email to our policy mailing list informing them of the latest update. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, sign up here.

How do you source the information in the policy database?

We have a two-stage process for populating and updating the NOURISHING policy database. The first stage is to source and review policy actions that are intended to promote healthy diets and reduce obesity, using an appropriate structured approach. The second stage is to verify the details of the policy actions with in-country or regional experts to ensure the policy has actually been implemented, to what extent and to source any existing published evaluations of the policy’s impact.

Please refer to our methods document for a detailed explanation on how we update the NOURISHING database.

Why do you not include web links to the policies described in the database?

Links to the webpages with more information about the policies change and break over time. We have therefore made the decision to only include links to evaluations and health campaigns that have a website, to keep the number of web links to regularly check manageable. Where possible we include the specific name of a policy so that our users can source the original documentation through the use of a search engine.

Why do you not include more information about the policies described in the database (eg impact, cost-effectiveness etc)?

A phased approach is being taken to include evaluations in the database from October 2016 onwards. Where available, we include the references of evaluations conducted of policies which are listed in our database, including a link to the online text or abstract. We currently have links to over 110 evaluations in our database and will include more with each update. Unfortunately, many implemented policy actions are not evaluated, or their evaluations are either not publicly available or published in a language other than English. Therefore, not all policies have evidence of impact.

Instead, we produce publications that provide additional information about the policies. For example our brief on SMART commitments to address NCDs, overweight & obesity provides case studies of policies which are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bound, and food policy highlights brief gives an overview of robust actions being taken worldwide that are supported by evidence to promote healthy diets. Our policy brief, Curbing global sugar consumption, provides a guide to effective and feasible policies that can assist countries in reducing the amount of sugar consumed at a population level to meet the new WHO sugar guideline. The brief gives examples of policies that effectively influence the 4 A’s of sugar consumption (availability, affordability, acceptability and awareness) and includes input from those involved in the development and implementation of these policies.

What happens when a government changes a policy described in the database?

If we become aware of a government changing or updating a policy listed in our database, we conduct a search for more information on the policy change and verify our updated summary with a regional or in-country expert. Please refer to our methods document which explains in detail how we update and populate NOURISHING.

What happens when a government no longer implements a policy described in the database?

Policies that have expired or been withdrawn, or are no longer enforced, are removed from the policy database as part of our regular updates unless they have been evaluated. If this is the case, the policy description includes an end date for the policy and a brief description of the reasons for expiry (eg a change of government, change of evidence). Expired policies are clearly identified with a bold “Expired policy” to differentiate such policies from ongoing policies.

Public awareness campaigns included in “I – Inform people” also remain in the policy database even if they are no longer running as they are often short in duration. The summary of the campaign includes the start and end date.

We maintain an internal list of removed policies, including the date and reason for removal.

How does NOURISHING fit in with efforts of other organisations to address overweight, obesity and non-communicable diseases?

Our 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).

Our 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 food 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.

Can I download a printable version of the database?

Yes – on our website under each of the NOURISHING "letters" you can download a summary table of the policy actions described in that section.

Can I add information to the database?

We would love to hear from you if you have information and knowledge about a relevant implemented government policy action not currently captured in our policy database. Please contact policy@wcrf.org.

How do I get in touch with you if I have any questions or would like to be added to your mailing list?

Please sign up to our mailing list here. You can also contact policy@wcrf.org.

May I reproduce the NOURISHING framework and/or parts of the policy database?

Please contact policy@wcrf.org for permission to replicate any part of the NOURISHING framework and/or policy database. Please do not attempt to create your own version. Only with our express permission may you replicate NOURISHING, acknowledging World Cancer Research Fund International as the originator.

Are there other policy databases?

A number of other organisations also provide access to policy databases. Some are listed below:

WHO Global Database on the Implementation of Nutrition Action
WHO Noncommunicable Disease Document Repository
FAO database on food based dietary guidelines
The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity – Pledge on Food Marketing to Children Worldwide
Marketing of breast-milk substitutes: National implementation of the international code. Status Report 2016 (joint report by WHO, UNICEF and IBFAN published in 2016 providing information on the implementation status of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent relevant WHO resolutions in and by countries)

WHO Europe Database on Nutrition, Obesity and Physical Activity

United States
The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity – Legislation Database
National Association of State Boards of Education – State School Health Policy Database
National Cancer Institute – Classification of Laws Associated with School Students
Centers for Disease Control – Chronic Disease State Policy Tracking System
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – State Laws for School Snack Foods and Beverages
Healthy Food Access Portal
Healthy Food Policy Project

Prevention Policies Directory