Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

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

26 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2012  

David G. Blanchflower

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics

Andrew J. Oswald

University of Warwick - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Sarah Stewart-Brown

Warwick Medical School

Date Written: October 2012

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Blanchflower, David G. and Oswald, Andrew J. and Stewart-Brown, Sarah, Is Psychological Well-Being Linked to the Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables? (October 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w18469. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2164593

David G. Blanchflower (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-646-2536 (Phone)
603-646-2122 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Andrew J. Oswald

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
523510 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Sarah Stewart-Brown

Warwick Medical School ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Paper statistics

Downloads
20
Abstract Views
1,572