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Can eating five fruit and veg a day really keep the doctor away?

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  • Lalji, Chitwan
  • Pakrashi, Debayan
  • Smyth, Russell

Abstract

The ‘5-a-day’ fruit and vegetable campaign has been running in the U.K since 2003. However, as of 2013, only about a quarter of people in Britain met the recommended dietary intake of five portions of fruit and vegetables daily. Using data from the annual Health Survey for England, we estimate the association between daily intake of fruit and vegetables and various objective and subjective measures of health. We find that individuals who consume more portions of fruit daily report better overall health and have lower levels of cholesterol and blood pressure, compared to those who do not, while higher daily vegetable intake is associated with reduced risk of developing high blood pressure. Between fruit and vegetables, we find that consumption of fruit generally has stronger positive health outcomes. Our estimates, however, vary by gender, age and weight of the individual and exhibit considerable heterogeneity across different types of fruit and vegetables.

Suggested Citation

  • Lalji, Chitwan & Pakrashi, Debayan & Smyth, Russell, 2018. "Can eating five fruit and veg a day really keep the doctor away?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 320-330.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:70:y:2018:i:c:p:320-330
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2017.07.024
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    2. Ocean, Neel & Howley, Peter & Ensor, Jonathan, 2019. "Lettuce be happy: A longitudinal UK study on the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and well-being," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 222(C), pages 335-345.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Self-assessed health; Mental health; Blood pressure; Cholesterol; Diet;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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