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

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  • David Blanchflower
  • 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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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Subjective well-being; Healthy food; GHQ; Diet; Mental health; Depression; Happiness; WEMWBS;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

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

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