Is Psychological Well-being Linked to the Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables?
AbstractHumans run on a fuel called food. Yet economists and other social scientists rarely study what people eat. We provide simple evidence consistent with the existence of a link between the consumption of fruit and vegetables and high well-being. In cross-sectional data, happiness and mental health rise in an approximately dose-response way with the number of daily portions of fruit and vegetables. The pattern is remarkably robust to adjustment for a large number of other demographic, social and economic variables. Well-being peaks at approximately 7 portions per day. We document this relationship in three data sets, covering approximately 80,000 randomly selected British individuals, and for seven measures of well-being (life satisfaction, WEMWBS mental well-being, GHQ mental disorders, self-reported health, happiness, nervousness, and feeling low). Reverse causality and problems of confounding remain possible. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of our analysis, how government policy-makers might wish to react to it, and what kinds of further research -- especially randomized trials -- would be valuable.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 996.
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Subjective well-being ; healthy food ; GHQ; diet ; mental health ; depression ; happiness ; WEMWBS.;
Other versions of this item:
- David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald & Sarah Stewart-Brown, 2012. "Is Psychological Well-being Linked to the Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables?," NBER Working Papers 18469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGR-2012-10-20 (Agricultural Economics)
- NEP-ALL-2012-10-20 (All new papers)
- NEP-LTV-2012-10-20 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
- NEP-NEU-2012-10-20 (Neuroeconomics)
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