According to a new study, eating fruits and vegetables as well as exercising can boost happiness levels. The study’s findings were published in the journal ‘Journal of Happiness Studies.

While the link between lifestyle and happiness has been well-documented and is frequently utilised in public health campaigns to encourage people to eat healthier and exercise more, recent research has revealed that there is also a positive link between lifestyle and life satisfaction.

Rather than generalising a correlation, this study is the first of its kind to investigate the cause of happiness, fruit and vegetable eating, and exercise.

Dr Adelina Gschwandtner of the University of Kent’s School of Economics, Dr Sarah Jewell of the University of Reading’s School of Economics, and Professor Uma Kambhampati of the University of Reading’s School of Economics used an instrumental variable approach to filter out any effect from happiness to lifestyle. It was discovered that it is the ingestion of fruits and vegetables, as well as physical activity, that makes people happy, not the other way around.

The findings show that people’s ability to defer pleasure and exercise self-control has a significant impact on lifestyle decisions, which in turn has a good impact on wellbeing.

Men appear to exercise more, but women eat more fruits and vegetables, according to the study.

These findings could have important consequences for public health policy, given that lifestyle diseases are a main cause of ill health and mortality worldwide, and the UK has one of the highest obesity rates in Europe.

According to Dr. Gschwandtner, “In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, behavioural nudges that assist the planning self in reinforcing long-term goals are likely to be especially beneficial. It’s a clear win-win situation if a better lifestyle not only makes us healthier but also happier.”

According to Professor Kambhampati, “In recent years, there has been a larger shift toward better living choices. It’s a huge step forward to prove that eating more fruits and veggies and exercise may boost happiness while also providing health advantages. This could also be valuable for environmental and sustainability policy efforts.”

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