Eating fruits and vegetables and exercising can boost happiness levels, a new study by researchers at the University of Kent and the University of Reading suggests.

This research is the first of its kind to unravel the cause of how happiness, fruit and vegetable consumption, and exercise are related. instead of generalizing a correlation. The new findings published by the Journal of Happiness Studies.


Causality, no correlation

The researchers, Adelina Gschwandtner (Kent School of Economics), Sarah Jewell, and Uma Kambhampati (both from the University of Reading School of Economics), used an instrumental variable approach to filter out any effects from happiness to lifestyle. . They thus demonstrated that it is rather the consumption of fruits and vegetables and exercise that make people happy and not the other way around..

The findings demonstrate that people’s ability to delay gratification and apply self-control plays an important role in influencing lifestyle decisions, which in turn has a positive impact on well-being. Research also shows that men seem to exercise more and women eat more fruits and vegetables. According to Kambhampati has pointed out:

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There has been a bigger shift in the last few years when it comes to healthier lifestyle choices. Establishing that eating more fruits and vegetables and exercising can increase happiness and offer health benefits is an important advance. This can also be useful for policy campaigns around the environment and sustainability.