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Goldilocks Days: optimising children’s time use for health and well-being
  1. Dorothea Dumuid1,
  2. Timothy Olds1,2,
  3. Katherine Lange2,3,
  4. Ben Edwards4,
  5. Kate Lycett2,3,5,
  6. David P Burgner2,3,6,
  7. Peter Simm2,3,7,
  8. Terence Dwyer2,3,8,
  9. Ha Le2,9,
  10. Melissa Wake2,3,10
  1. 1Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA), Allied Health & Human Performance, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  2. 2Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
  5. 5Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development, School of Psychology, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia
  6. 6Infection and Immunity, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Parkville, Australia
  7. 7Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Royal Children’s Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
  8. 8Nuffield Department of Women’s & Reproductive Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK
  9. 9Deakin Health Economics, School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia
  10. 10The Liggins Institute, The University of Auckland, Grafton, Auckland, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Dr Dorothea Dumuid, Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA), Allied Health & Human Performance, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia; dot.dumuid{at}unisa.edu.au

Abstract

Background One size rarely fits all in population health. Differing outcomes may compete for best allocations of time. Among children aged 11–12 years, we aimed to (1) describe optimal 24-hour time use for diverse physical, cognitive/academic and well-being outcomes, (2) pinpoint the ‘Goldilocks Day’ that optimises all outcomes and (3) develop a tool to customise time-use recommendations.

Methods In 2004, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children recruited a nationally-representative cohort of 5107 infants with biennial follow-up waves. We used data from the cross-sectional Child Health CheckPoint module (2015–2016, n=1874, 11–12 years, 51% males). Time use was from 7-day 24-hour accelerometry. Outcomes included life satisfaction, psychosocial health, depressive symptoms, emotional problems, non-verbal IQ; vocabulary, academic performance, adiposity, fitness, blood pressure, inflammatory biomarkers, bone strength. Relationships between time use and outcomes were modelled using compositional regression.

Results Optimal daily durations varied widely for different health outcomes (sleep: 8.3–11.4 hours; sedentary: 7.3–12.2 hours; light physical activity: 1.7–5.1 hours; moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA): 0.3–2.7 hours, all models p≤0.04). In general, days with highest physical activity (predominantly MVPA) and low sedentary time were optimal for physical health, while days with highest sleep and lowest sedentary time were optimal for mental health. Days with highest sedentary time and lowest physical activity were optimal for cognitive health. The overall Goldilocks Day had 10 hours 21 min sleep, 9 hours 44 min sedentary time, 2 hours 26 min light physical activity and 1 hour 29 min MVPA. Our interactive interface allows personalisation of Goldilocks Days to an individual’s outcome priorities.

Conclusion ‘Goldilocks Days’ necessitate compromises based on hierarchies of priorities for health, social and economic outcomes.

  • exercise
  • sleep
  • mental health
  • cognition
  • obesity

Data availability statement

The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children datasets and technical documents are available to researchers at no cost via a licence agreement. Data access requests are co-ordinated by the National Centre for Longitudinal Data. More information is available at https://dataverse.ada.edu.au/dataverse/lsac.

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Data availability statement

The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children datasets and technical documents are available to researchers at no cost via a licence agreement. Data access requests are co-ordinated by the National Centre for Longitudinal Data. More information is available at https://dataverse.ada.edu.au/dataverse/lsac.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors DD is the guarantor, accepts full responsibility for the finished work, had access to the data, and controlled the decision to publish. All authors critically revised the manuscript and approved the final version. Each author agrees to be accountable for all aspects of the work. Study concept and design: MW (principal investigator of CheckPoint), TO, PS, BE, DPB and TD are study investigators involved in the conception and oversight of the Child Health CheckPoint. Obtained CheckPoint funding: MW, TO, PS, BE, DPB and TD. Acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data: KLy, MW, TO, KLa and PS contributed to the collection of data. DD analysed the data. DD, TO, MW, KLa, BE, KLy, DPB, PS, TD and HL contributed to the interpretation of the data. Drafting of the manuscript: DD, MW and TO. Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: DD, TO, MW, KLa, BE, KLy, DPB, PS, TD and HL. Administrative, technical, or material support: DD, TO, MW, KLa, BE, KLy, DPB, PS, TD and HL.Study supervision: MW and TO.

  • Funding This work was funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) (GNT1041352; GNT1109355; GNT1186123; GNT1162166 to DD; GNT1091124 to KLy; GNT1175744 to DPB; GNT1160906 to MW); the National Heart Foundation of Australia (100660; 102084 to DD; 101239 to KLy; The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation (2014-241); the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) (No award number available); The University of Melbourne (No award number available); the Financial Markets Foundation for Children (2014-055, 2016-310); and the Australian Department of Social Services (DSS) (No award number available). Research at the MCRI is supported by the Victorian Government's Operational Infrastructure Support Program (No award number available). DD and TO are researchers in the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Driving Global Investment in Global Adolescent Health (GNT1171981).

  • Disclaimer The funders had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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