People with a healthy lifestyle are happier and more satisfied about their lives than others. The happiest and most satisfied people are those who meet all standards of a healthy life.
Happy and satisfied people by lifestyle, 2006/2008
Smokers are less happy
People with an unhappy lifestyle are less happy and satisfied. Smoking makes a difference: the share of smokers who are happy is nearly 6 percent point smaller than the share for happy non-smokers. The difference is even bigger when it comes to being satisfied about life, namely over 7 percent point.
People who are considerably overweight are also significantly less happy and satisfied, whereas people who are moderately overweight are just as happy and satisfied as people who are not overweight.
Heavy drinkers are just as happy and satisfied as moderate drinkers. People who do not drink alcohol are actually less happy and satisfied. Finally, active people are happier and more satisfied than people who have less physical exercise.
Difference in satisfaction and happiness compared with a healthy lifestyle, 2006/2008
Experienced health plays a role
People who feel healthy are happier and more satisfied than others. Experienced health explains the differences between happiness and satisfaction related to lifestyle, but not for all lifestyles.
For smokers and people who do not drink alcohol their experienced health does not make a difference for their sense of happiness and satisfaction. Experienced health does explain the difference in happiness and satisfaction between people who do and people who do not have enough exercise.
People who are moderately overweight are happiest, especially when experienced health is taken into account. This is remarkable since being overweight is considered a health risk.
Tineke de Jonge, Christianne Hupkens and Jan-Willem Bruggink