Although the relationship between lifestyle and well-being has been known for some time and is often used in public health campaigns to promote healthier eating habits and physical activity, the Journal of Happiness Studies published new findings that show a positive correlation between lifestyle and life satisfaction.
This research is the first to show that happiness, physical activity, and eating fruits and vegetables are linked. Dr Adelina Goldtner (University of Kent’s School of Economics), Professor Uma Kambhampati (both University of Reading’s School of Economics) used an instrumental variable approach in order to remove any effects from happiness to lifestyle. It was found that people are happier when they eat fruit and vegetables, practice physical activity and do well in school .
Research shows that individuals’ ability to resist gratification and exercise self-control is a key factor in their lifestyle choices, which has a positive effect on their wellbeing. Research also revealed that women consume more fruits and vegetables, while men do more physical activity.
These findings could have important implications for public health policy, as it is well-known that lifestyle diseases are a major cause of death and ill health worldwide. The UK has one of Europe’s highest obesity rates.
Dr. Gschwandtner stated that behavioral nudges that encourage planning to support long-term goals are likely to be particularly helpful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A better lifestyle can make us happier and healthier.
Professor Kambhampati stated that there has been a greater shift in recent years towards healthier lifestyle choices. It is important to establish that physical activity and eating more fruits and vegetables can improve happiness and offer health benefits. This could also be useful in policy campaigns related to environment and sustainability.