NOURISHING and MOVING FAQs

All you need to know about our global databases of nutrition and physical activity policies

What are the policy databases?

The new databases have been developed as part of the European Union CO-CREATE project – Confronting obesity: co-creating policy with youth – and contain information about nutrition and physical activity policies.

The NOURISHING database of diet-related policies has been redesigned as part of the CO-CREATE project. The MOVING database of physical policy actions has been developed to complement the NOURISHING database.

Both databases also include evaluations of policies, where available.

What policy data do you collect?

The NOURISHING and MOVING databases collect policy actions from around the world which are implemented on a national level, and which are currently in effect.

NOURISHING is focused on policy actions that promote healthy diets.

MOVING is focused on policy actions that promote physical activity.

All policy actions in the databases have been verified by an in-country government expert. In select cases, local policies have also been included as exemplars of policy action at sub-national (regional, municipal or local) level, for example:

NOURISHING: New York City’s Food Standards, which set nutritional standards for all food purchased or served by city agencies.

To source the policy actions, we use a specific search criteria and verification process.

We are also conducting an in-depth, systematic search across 27 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK) known as the Comprehensive European Scan.

This is because the CO-CREATE project focuses on Europe. This scan is ongoing and the database will be updated as policy actions are identified and verified. We hope to scan more countries systematically in the future.

What is a policy action?

Policy action is a broad term, which can be defined in many different ways. For the purpose of these databases, we define it as any form of government action including, but not restricted to, legislation, regulation, decrees, standards, policies, programmes, guidelines, fiscal measures and government-supported voluntary programmes, action and campaigns. All policy actions are part of public policy, but not all policies are policy actions. For the purposes of the databases, plans and strategies are excluded.

What is the NOURISHING database?

The NOURISHING database provides an overview of policy actions from around the world that promote healthy diets and reduce obesity, structured around the NOURISHING policy framework.

It includes information on food labelling, sugar-sweetened beverage taxation, marketing restrictions of products high in sugar, salt and/or fat, and much more. Each letter in the word NOURISHING represents one of ten areas where governments need to take action.

The database was launched in 2013 by World Cancer Research Fund International and has been redesigned and expanded under the CO-CREATE project.

What is the MOVING database?

The MOVING database provides an overview of policy actions from around the world targeted at getting people, particularly youth and adolescents, more active. It is structured around the MOVING policy framework.

It includes information on physical activity programmes and guidelines, urban planning and transport design, and mass communication campaigns. Each letter in the word MOVING represents one of six areas where governments should take action to promote physical activity. The MOVING framework is structured around three policy domains: Active Societies, Active Environments and Active People. Within these domains are the six key policy areas. A fourth cross-cutting policy domain, Active Systems, is included in the framework as an overarching policy domain to encompass additional elements identified as needed to support the development of physical activity policy. Policy actions are not collected within this fourth policy domain unless they are best practice examples.

The MOVING framework and database were developed as part of the CO-CREATE project.

How are the databases structured?

The NOURISHING and MOVING databases are structured around policy frameworks to provide an accessible and searchable web platform containing information on implemented policy actions. The frameworks organises the databases into different policy domains, policy areas and sub-policy areas.

How was the MOVING framework developed?

The framework was developed by World Cancer Research Fund International, as part of the CO-CREATE project, in 2018 and is based on an analysis of the global physical activity policy literature (including the World Health Organization’s 2018 Global Action Plan for Physical Activity (GAPPA). The MOVING framework’s six policy areas and the Active Systems domain align with the four policy domains in the GAPPA: Active Societies, Active Environments, Active People and Active Systems.

What methodology is used for adding policy actions to the databases?

We have a two-stage process for populating and updating the NOURISHING and MOVING policy databases as outlined in detail in our Methods Document.

Stage one

The first stage is to source and review policy actions that are intended to promote healthy diets and reduce obesity for NOURISHING and physical activity for MOVING, through a structured policy scan known as the Global Scan. The policy scan is conducted on a rolling basis and policy actions are sourced and monitored from newsletters, listservs and research into key topics. We also source any existing published evaluations of the policy’s impact.

The Global Scan is supplemented with the comprehensive search of national-level diet-nutrition and physical activity policy actions for 27 European countries, known as the Comprehensive European Scan. The in-depth scan of European countries is designed to give a more detailed overview of the policy environment in Europe, given the geographical focus of the CO-CREATE project.

The Comprehensive European Scan of nutrition and physical activity policy actions in the 27 European countries takes a systematic approach with specific search terms, set out in the Technical Annex of the Methods Document.

Stage two

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 and meets the criteria of a policy action.

All policies in the database must be national in scope, currently implemented and meet the definition of ‘policy action’.

Which countries are in the Comprehensive European Scan?

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK.

How were the countries selected?

The countries were selected using the following criteria:

  • Availability of data on obesity levels for young people aged 15 from HBSC Survey 2013/14. This age has been selected due to the relevance to the overall project.
  • One of five CO-CREATE Project Countries (Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, UK)

And / Or:

  • Countries within the European Union (given the relevance of the project and being funded by the EU).

Why do you only include current policies in the databases?

It is not enough for legislation or regulations simply to exist. In order to have any impact, policies need to be in effect. We have a verification process (as outlined in our Methods Document) to ensure that the policies included in NOURISHING and MOVING have been passed into law or are in effect.

How many policy actions do the databases hold?

The MOVING database includes over 100 implemented government physical activity policy actions across six EU countries. The NOURISHING database includes over 700 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 databases. 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 policy to promote healthy diets or physical activity in this country. Should you know of a policy in this country, please email policy@wcrf.org.

How often do you update the databases?

We update the policy databases on a continual basis. We email our mailing list with information about policies recently added to the databases. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, sign up here.

Why do you not include web links to policies?

Links to web pages change and break over time. We therefore only include links to evaluations and health campaigns that have a website, to keep the number of web links to regularly check manageable. The new web platform includes the specific name of the policies so that our users can source the original documentation through a search engine.

How do you decide which evaluations to include?

In order for an evaluation of a policy to be included in the database, it must fulfil the following inclusion criteria:

  • process or impact evaluation of a policy that is contained in the NOURISHING or MOVING databases;
  • published in English;
  • available online (full text or abstract), and both the reference and link to the evaluation are included in the relevant database;
  • conducted by universities/research institutions, civil society organisations or governments; and
  • of sufficiently high quality (eg using validated questionnaires, sufficient number of respondents, etc).

For more information on how we search for evaluations please refer to the Technical Annex of the Methods Document.

What happens when a government changes a policy?

If we become aware of a government changing or updating a policy listed in our database, we search for more information on the policy change and verify our updated summary with a regional or in-country expert. Our Methods Document explains in detail how we update and populate the databases.

Policy actions that have expired, been withdrawn or are no longer enforced are removed from the databases unless they are accompanied by a policy evaluation (for example, if it has been evaluated to show a public health impact – benefit or harm – or evaluated to show no effect).

If the policy action has expired but is accompanied by an evaluation, the policy description includes an end date for the policy action and a brief description of the reasons for expiry or ending (eg a change of government, change of evidence). Expired policy actions are also clearly identified in the NOURISHING or MOVING databases with a bolded ‘Expired policy’ below the policy description text to differentiate them from ongoing policies.

Public awareness campaigns, either run by or endorsed by governments (included in ‘I – Inform people about food and nutrition through public awareness’ in NOURISHING and ‘N – Normalise and increase physical activity through public communication’ in MOVING) may also remain in the databases even if they are no longer running as they often last for only a short time. The summary of the campaign includes the start and end date. To be included, a campaign must have taken place in the past five years and have had national scope; after this time, it is retained only if it has been evaluated.

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

How do NOURISHING and MOVING align with other policy initiatives?

NOURISHING and MOVING align with the efforts of many other organisations to address overweight, obesity and non-communicable diseases.

Our NOURISHING and MOVING frameworks are 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 MOVING framework has a strong alignment with the WHO’s Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018–2030 (GAPPA), which sets out four strategic objectives achievable through 20 policy actions that are universally applicable to all countries, recognising that each country is at a different starting point in their efforts to reduce levels of physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour. The MOVING framework’s six policy areas align with the four policy domains in the GAPPA: Active Societies, Active Environments, Active People and Active Systems.

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 print the databases?

Yes – in the databases, in each of the NOURISHING and MOVING policy areas and sub-policy areas, you can download a csv file with the policy actions described in that section.

Can I add to the databases?

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

How do I get in touch?

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

May I reproduce the frameworks or databases?

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

Useful links

Other organisations also provide access to policy databases. Some are listed below.

International

Europe

US

Canada