Is Psychological Well-Being Linked to the Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables?
David G. Blanchflower
Dartmouth College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics
Andrew J. Oswald
University of Warwick - Department of Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
Warwick Medical School
NBER Working Paper No. w18469
Humans 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.
Institutional subscribers to the NBER working paper series, and residents of developing countries may download this paper without additional charge at www.nber.org.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 26working papers series
Date posted: October 20, 2012
© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This page was processed by apollo7 in 0.235 seconds