Lifestyle and life satisfaction: the role of delayed gratification

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

March 15, 2022


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.

Published in

Journal of Happiness Studies

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 23 , p.1 -1






Open Access

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

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