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
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.