According to new research by the University of Kent and the University of Reading- fruit and vegetable consumption and exercise can increase happiness levels. This is the first kind of study that highlights the link between happiness, fruit, and vegetables and exercising.
Using an instrumental variable approach, scientists filter out any effect from happiness to lifestyle. Their approach shows that instead, consuming fruit and vegetables and exercising makes people happy and not the other way round.
The ability of individuals to delay gratification and apply self-control plays a significant role in influencing lifestyle decisions, which in turn has a positive impact on wellbeing. The research also shows that men appear to exercise more, and women eat more fruit and vegetables.
With it being well known that lifestyle diseases are a leading cause of ill health and mortality worldwide. The UK has one of the highest obesity rates in Europe. These findings could have significant implications for public health policy.
Dr. Adelina Gschwandtner (University of Kent’s School of Economics) said, “Behavioural nudges that help the planning self to reinforce long-term objectives are likely to be especially helpful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If a better lifestyle not only makes us healthier but also happier, then it is a clear win-win situation.”
Dr. Sarah Jewell and Professor Uma Kambhampati (both from the University of Reading’s School of Economics) said, “There has been a bigger shift in recent years for healthier lifestyle choices. Establishing that eating more fruit and vegetables and exercising can increase happiness and offer health benefits is a major development. This may also prove useful for policy campaigns around environment and sustainability.”
- Adelina Gschwandtner, Sarah Jewell, Uma S. Kambhampati. Lifestyle and Life Satisfaction: The Role of Delayed Gratification. Journal of Happiness Studies, 2021; DOI: 10.1007/s10902-021-00440-y