Nutrition

Fruits, vegetables and exercise can make you happier

Fruits, vegetables and exercise can make you happier
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Overview: Consuming fruits and vegetables and exercising makes people happier, not the other way around, a new study reports. Increased happiness was associated with eating more fruits and vegetables in women, and more exercise in men.

Source: University of Kent

New research led by the University of Kent and the University of Reading has found that fruit and vegetable consumption and exercise can increase happiness levels.

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While the link between lifestyle and wellness has been documented before and is often used in public health campaigns to encourage healthier diets and exercise, new findings have been published by the Happiness studies magazine show that there is also a positive relationship between lifestyle and life satisfaction.

This study is the first of its kind to unravel the root cause of how happiness, fruit and vegetable consumption, and exercise are related, rather than generalizing a correlation.

The researchers, Dr. Adelina Gschwandtner (Kent’s School of Economics), Dr. Sarah Jewell and Professor Uma Kambhampati (both of the University of Reading’s School of Economics), used an instrumental variable approach to filter out any effect from happiness to lifestyle.

This showed that it is precisely the consumption of fruit and vegetables and exercise that makes people happy and not the other way around.

The research also shows that men seem to exercise more and women eat more fruits and vegetables. Image is in the public domain

Findings show that individuals’ ability to delay gratification and apply self-control plays an important role in influencing lifestyle decisions, which in turn has a positive effect on well-being. The research also shows that men seem to exercise more and women eat more fruits and vegetables.

Given that lifestyle diseases are a major cause of ill health and mortality worldwide, and the UK has one of the highest obesity rates in Europe, these findings could have significant implications for public health policy.

dr. Gschwandtner said: “Behavioral incentives that help the planning itself reinforce long-term goals are probably especially helpful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If a better lifestyle makes us not only healthier but also happier, then there is a clear win-win situation. ”

Professor Kambhampati said: “There has been a greater shift towards healthier lifestyle choices in recent years. It is an important development to establish that eating more fruits and vegetables and exercising can increase both happiness and health. This can also be helpful for policy campaigns on the environment and sustainability.”

About this news about diet, exercise and happiness

Author: Olivia Miller
Source: University of Kent
Contact: Olivia Miller – University of Kent
Image: The image is in the public domain

Original research: Open access.
“Lifestyle and life satisfaction: the role of delayed gratification” by Adelina Gschwandtner et al. Happiness studies magazine


Abstract

Also see

This shows a range of different dishes

Lifestyle and life satisfaction: the role of delayed gratification

This article examines the impact of two lifestyle measures – fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity – on individual well-being.

Since lifestyle is likely endogenous, we correct for this by using two dimensions of delayed gratification as tools.

The ability to delay gratification allows individuals to give more weight to the investment component of lifestyle decisions rather than just the affective component.

Our analysis is based on the UK Understanding Society Data, which covers 40,000 UK households over time.

We find that the two delayed gratification instruments are positive and significant in influencing lifestyle. In phase 2, we find that fruit and vegetable consumption and sports activity increase life satisfaction, although the effects differ for men and women.

These results are robust across income quartiles, region, gender, education, and age groups.

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