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Evolution in Well-being and Happiness after Increases in Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables

Listed author(s):
  • Mujcic, Redzo

    (Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, University of Queensland)

  • Oswald, Andrew.J

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

Objectives : To explore whether improvements in psychological well-being occur after increases in fruit and vegetable consumption.Methods : Longitudinal food diaries were examined on 12,000 randomly samples Australian adults over 2007, 2009, and 2013. The study examined fixed-effects regression equations on individuals' happiness and life satisfaction. It adjusted for a large set of other influences, including people's changing incomes and personal circumstances. Prospective analysis, Granger-causality tests, and instrumental-variable estimation were also done.Results : Increases in fruit and vegetable intake were predictive of increases in happiness and life satisfaction. Well-being improvements were of up to 0.24 life-satisfaction points (for an increase of 8 portions a day), which is equal size to the psychological gain of moving from unemployment to employment. Improvements occurred within 24 months. Conclusions : People's motivation to eat healthy food is weakened by the fact that physical-health benefits accrue decades later. This study offers a new possibility. Public-health policy could emphasise immediate well-being improvement from healthy eating. Policy Implications : Citizens could be shown longitudinal evidence that 'happiness' gains from healthy eating can occur quickly and many years before enhances physical health.

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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 1128.

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Date of creation: 2016
Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:1128
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