Is psychological well-being linked to the consumption of fruit and vegetables?

David G Blanchflower, Andrew Oswald, Sarah Stewart-Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Little is known about the influence of people’s diet on their psychological well-being.This study provides evidence 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.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). The pattern is robust to adjustment for a large number of other demographic, social and economic variables. 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785 - 801
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Volume114
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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