Our policy framework to promote healthy diets & reduce obesity


Our analysis of global scientific research shows that there is a link between the food we eat and our risk of cancer. So we are working with policymakers around the world to promote healthier eating, prevent obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cancer. Action is needed to help achieve the World Health Organization’s global target of reducing premature deaths from non-communicable diseases, including cancer, by 25 per cent by 2025.

What countries are doing to prevent obesity & NCDs

To encourage action we have created a policy framework – called NOURISHING. NOURISHING recognises that policy actions are needed within three domains: food environment, food system and behaviour change communication. The evidence shows that each domain is important in influencing how and what we eat.

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The NOURISHING framework is accompanied by a regularly updated database that provides an overview of implemented government policy actions that are taking place around the world.

We developed the NOURISHING framework 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 policymakers 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

Policymakers can use NOURISHING to:

  • Identify where action is needed to promote healthy diets
  • Select and tailor options suitable for your populations and assess if your approach is sufficiently comprehensive
  • See what other countries are doing

Civil Society Organisations can use NOURISHING to:

  • Monitor what governments are doing around the world
  • Benchmark progress
  • Hold governments to account

Researchers can use NOURISHING to:

  • Identify the evidence available for different policies
  • Identify research gaps
  • Monitor and evaluate policies

"Working in the continuously evolving field of nutrition-related policies, we have found that the NOURISHING database from WCRF is a reliable, accurate, well-structured and very user-friendly repository of implemented nutrition and health policies. A great help to our work – thank you for all the efforts you have put into it!"
Sandra Caldeira, PhD – Project Manager, Nutrition and Health, DG Joint Research Centre, European Commission

Across the three domains, there are ten evidence-informed 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.