New tool to help governments get people physically active and tackle obesity

World Cancer Research Fund launches global database of physical activity policies.

17 June 2020

World Cancer Research Fund has created a new database of physical activity policies that are being implemented around the world. The database can help governments tackle obesity through policies that help us to move more.

The database, called MOVING, covers areas that are critical to get people more physically active across their entire life, including at school and in the workplace. This includes active travel through walking and cycling infrastructure and access to green spaces, and educating everyone about the benefits of living an active life. MOVING joins World Cancer Research Fund’s existing NOURISHING database of policy actions that encourage people to eat healthier diets – which has also been redesigned as part of the launch.

Globally, 158 million children between the ages of five and 19 are living with obesity, a number that is predicted to increase to 254 million by 20251. Policy actions can make our environments healthier so that it is easier for people to be more active and have a healthier diet. They are important ways governments can protect the health of their nation, lower obesity and prevent diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Users of the databases, which are structured around the NOURISHING and MOVING policy frameworks*, will be able to see how their government is taking action.

The CO-CREATE project

The new MOVING database was created as part of an European Union project – Confronting obesity: co-creating policy with youth – known as the CO-CREATE project. It involves 14 organisations, including World Cancer Research Fund, with the aim of tackling obesity in young people in Europe. The project invites young people to help in the process and ‘co-create’ actions to tackle obesity.

Margrete Bjørge Katanasho, who works with young people in Norway, said:

“The NOURISHING and MOVING policy databases are great because they make it easy for everyone, including young people, to see what their country could be doing to improve nutrition and physical activity and call for more to be done.”

Dr Kate Allen, Executive Director of Science and Public Affairs at WCRF, said:

“It is vital that governments work together and learn from each other’s policies; the NOURISHING and MOVING policy databases enable countries to be inspired by one another and yet tailor their approach to the local context.”

Knut-Inge Klepp, the principal investigator of CO-CREATE, said:

“The CO-CREATE project helps young people create, inform and promote policies for obesity prevention. These databases are an excellent addition to the CO-CREATE project, as they show youth what policies are possible to prevent obesity.”

Obesity is a cause of at least 12 different types of cancer and many other health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Preliminary evidence has also linked obesity to worse outcomes in COVID-19 infection.


For more information and media enquiries contact:

Maxine Lenza, Senior Press and Communications Officer at World Cancer Research Fund: +44 (0)7717 131 883 or

Margot Neveux, World Obesity Federation: +44 (0)7784 258445 or


1Atlas of Childhood Obesity 2019, World Obesity Federation, accessed 09/06/20:

Notes to editors

More information on the NOURISHING and MOVING databases can be found here:

Access the databases here:

*NOURISHING stands for:

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

MOVING stands for:

M = Make programmes, opportunities and initiatives that promote physical activity a priority
O = Offer training in physical activity promotion across multiple professions
V = Visualise and enact active design guidelines for structures and surroundings
I = Implement urban, rural and transport plans that support active societies
N = Normalise and increase physical activity through public communication that motivates and builds behaviour change
G = Give physical activity education, assessment and counselling

About World Cancer Research Fund

World Cancer Research Fund is a network of cancer charities with a global reach, dedicated to the prevention and survival of cancer through a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and being more physically active. By funding and supporting research, developing policy guidance and providing health information, we ensure that people can make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their risk of developing a preventable cancer.

For more information visit:

Twitter: @wcrfint

About the CO-CREATE project

CO-CREATE, a five-year (2018–23) research project funded through an EU Horizon 2020 grant and led by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, aims to reduce the prevalence of obesity among adolescents in Europe. It brings together a consortium of 14 international research and advocacy organisations across 10 countries. Furthermore, the project is unique in its commitment to work with youth to co-create, inform and promote policies for obesity prevention.

Given the huge diversity across European regions – in the types of policies, obesity rates, cultural factors that drive obesity including eating behaviour – it is key to consistently monitor and benchmark relevant policy initiatives in promotion of healthier food and physical activity environments. The project seeks to establish the state-of-art in existing evidence regarding effective policies and policy measures; to study obesity rate changes in relation to relevant European and national policies, and to explore the associations between policies and prevalence according to socio-economic background.

For more information on CO-CREATE visit: