Findings demonstrate that the ability of individuals to delay gratification and apply self-control plays a major role in influencing lifestyle decisions, which in turn has a positive impact on well being. The research also shows that men appear to exercise more, and women eat more fruit and vegetables.
With it being well known that lifestyle diseases are a leading cause of ill health and mortality worldwide, and the UK having one of the highest obesity rates in Europe, these findings could have significant implications for public health policy.
Dr Gschwandtner said: ‘Behavioral nudges that help the planning self to reinforce long-term objectives are likely to be especially helpful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If a better lifestyle not only makes us healthier but also happier, then it is a clear win-win situation.’
Professor Kambhampati said: ‘There has been a bigger shift in recent years for healthier lifestyle choices. To establish that eating more fruit and vegetables and exercising can increase happiness as well as offer health benefits is a major development. This may also prove useful for policy campaigns around environment and sustainability.’