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Is Psychological Well-Being Linked to the Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables?

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  • David Blanchflower

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  • Andrew Oswald

    ()

  • Sarah Stewart-Brown

    ()

Abstract

Little is known about the influence of people’s diet on their psychological well-being. This study provides evidence 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. 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). The pattern is robust to adjustment for a large number of other demographic, social and economic variables. 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. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Suggested Citation

  • David Blanchflower & Andrew Oswald & Sarah Stewart-Brown, 2013. "Is Psychological Well-Being Linked to the Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 114(3), pages 785-801, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:114:y:2013:i:3:p:785-801
    DOI: 10.1007/s11205-012-0173-y
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Chitwan Lalji & Debayan Pakrashi & Russell Smyth, 2016. "Can eating five fruit and veg a day really keep the doctor away?," Monash Economics Working Papers 37-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    2. repec:eee:ecmode:v:70:y:2018:i:c:p:320-330 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Alan Piper, 2015. "Europe’s Capital Cities and the Happiness Penalty: An Investigation Using the European Social Survey," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 123(1), pages 103-126, August.
    4. Marianne Bernatzky & José María Cabrera & Alejandro Cid, "undated". "Regular Information and Health: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Undergraduate Students," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers 1501, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..
    5. Gschwandtner, Adelina & Jewell, Sarah L. & Kambhampati, Uma, 2015. "On the Relationship between Lifestyle and Happiness in the UK," 89th Annual Conference, April 13-15, 2015, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 204199, Agricultural Economics Society.
    6. Huffman, Sonya & Rizov, Marian, 2016. "Life Satisfaction and Diet: Evidence from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235148, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    7. Rocío Moreno-Sánchez & Vanesa Martínez & Jorge H. Maldonado & Arturo Rodríguez, 2017. "Cambios en bienestar subjetivo, aspiraciones y expectativas en participantes de programas de alivio a la pobreza: un análisis cualitativo de Produciendo por mi futuro en Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 015818, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    8. Booker, Cara L. & Pudney, Stephen, 2013. "In sickness and in health? Comorbidity in older couples," ISER Working Paper Series 2013-30, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    9. Mujcic, Redzo, 2014. "Are fruit and vegetables good for our mental and physical health? Panel data evidence from Australia," MPRA Paper 59149, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Alex Bryson & John Forth & Lucy Stokes, 2015. "Does Worker Wellbeing Affect Workplace Performance?," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 447, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    11. Piper, Alan, 2013. "A Note on Modelling Dynamics in Happiness Estimations," MPRA Paper 49364, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Rafael Moreira Claro & Vargas Hernandez & Joel Alberto & Satoru Shimokawa & Euna Han & Sharada Keats & Steve Wiggins, 2015. "The Rising Cost of a Healthy Diet – Changing Relative prices of Foods in High- Income and Emerging Economies," Working Papers id:7250, eSocialSciences.
    13. De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel & Diener, Ed & Tay, Louis & Xuereb, Cody, 2013. "The objective benefits of subjective well-being," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51669, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    14. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & Ed Diener & Louis Tay & Cody Xuereb, 2013. "The Objective Benefits of Subjective Well-Being," CEP Discussion Papers dp1236, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    15. Radek Janhuba, 2016. "Do Victories and Losses Matter? Effects of Football on Life Satisfaction," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp579, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    16. Bernatzky, Marianne & Cabrera, José María & Cid, Alejandro, 2015. "Regular Information and Health: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Undergraduate Students," MPRA Paper 84618, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. repec:spr:jhappi:v:18:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10902-016-9749-6 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Subjective well-being; Healthy food; GHQ; Diet; Mental health; Depression; Happiness; WEMWBS;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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