Quality of Life Research

, Volume 26, Issue 11, pp 3119–3129 | Cite as

Use-of-time and health-related quality of life in 10- to 13-year-old children: not all screen time or physical activity minutes are the same

  • Margarita D. Tsiros
  • Michelle G. Samaras
  • Alison M. Coates
  • Timothy Olds



To investigate associations between aspects of time use and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in youth.


239 obese and healthy-weight 10- to 13-year-old Australian children completed the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL™) quantifying their health-related quality of life. Time use was evaluated over four days using the Multimedia Activity Recall for Children and Adolescents (MARCA), a validated 24 h recall tool. The average number of minutes/day spent in physical activity (divided into sport, active transport and play), screen time (divided into television, videogames and computer use), and sleep were calculated. Percent fat was measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, Tanner stage by self-report, and household income by parental report. Sex-stratified analysis was conducted using Partial Least Squares regression, with percent fat, Tanner stage, household income, and use-of-time as the independent variables, and PedsQL™ total, physical and psychosocial subscale scores as the dependent variables.


For boys, the most important predictors of HRQoL were percent fat (negative), videogames (negative), sport (positive), and Tanner stage (negative). For girls, the significant predictors were percent fat (negative), television (negative), sport (positive), active transport (negative), and household income (positive).


While body fat was the most significant correlate of HRQoL, sport was independently associated with better HRQoL, and television and videogames with poorer HRQoL. Thus, parents and clinicians should be mindful that not all physical activity and screen-based behaviours have equivocal relationships with children’s HRQoL. Prospective research is needed to confirm causation and to inform current activity guidelines.


Percent body fat Television Physical activity Screen time Wellbeing 



Thanks to J Buckley, J Walkley, P Howe, K Best, E Vaughton, M Kagawa, K Greenway for their technical assistance/advice. Statistical analysis advice was provided by A Atlas and J Petkov (rest in peace). Funding: Physiotherapy Research Foundation and an Australian Post Graduate Award (M Tsiros). The Quality of Life Study described in this paper was carried out using the PedsQL developed by Dr James W Varni.


The authors report a grant from the Physiotherapy Research Foundation (Grant No. S08-002). Dr Tsiros was supported by an Australian Post Graduate Award during the conduct of the study.

Author contributions

Tsiros (study design, data collection/analysis/interpretation, manuscript preparation), Samaras, Olds, Coates (study design, data interpretation, manuscript preparation).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margarita D. Tsiros
    • 1
  • Michelle G. Samaras
    • 1
  • Alison M. Coates
    • 1
  • Timothy Olds
    • 1
  1. 1.Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity, Sansom Institute for Health ResearchUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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