Food and Behaviour Research

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Lifestyle and Life Satisfaction: The Role of Delayed Gratification

Gschwandtner A, Jewell S, Kambhampati U (2021) Journal of Happiness Studies doi:10.1007/s10902-021-00440-y  

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This paper considers the impact of two measures of lifestyle—the consumption of fruit and vegetables and doing exercise—on individual well-being.

Since lifestyle is likely to be endogenous, we correct for this by using two dimensions of delayed gratification as instruments. The ability to delay gratification enables individuals to give greater weight to the investment component of lifestyle decisions rather than merely the affective component.  Our analysis is based on the UK Understanding Society Data, which covers 40,000 UK households over time.

We find that the two delayed gratification instruments are positive and significant in influencing lifestyle.  In Stage 2, we find that fruit and vegetable consumption and sports activity increase life satisfaction, though the impacts vary for men and women. These results are robust across income quartiles, region, gender, education and age groups.