This study aimed to investigate anxiety status and its relationship with body mass index (BMI) among empty nesters in China, so as to improve their quality of life and provide direction for further research.
A cross‐sectional survey was conducted among 4901 empty nesters in Shanxi, China. Anxiety, weight, height, depression, socio‐demographic variables, attention to daily nutritional health, social activities, and self‐care ability were evaluated in the study. T‐tests and chi‐square tests were used to compare differences in categorical and continuous variables. Binary logistic regression was performed to explore the association between anxiety and BMI among male and female empty nesters.
The results showed that 44.5% of empty nesters reported anxiety, of which, 43.2% were male participants and 45.9% were female participants. After adjusting for other variables, overweight empty nesters odds ratio (OR; 95% confidence interval [CI]) = 0.813 (0.692‐0.954) were less likely to be anxious, compared with their normal‐weight counterparts. Gender was a significant factor in the relationship, with the negative association between overweight and anxiety only found in female empty nesters OR (95%CI) = 0.718 (0.572‐0.901). Income, education, complete self‐care ability, and depression showed significant associations with anxiety.
The prevalence of anxiety was high in the study population. Gender is a significant factor in the relationship between anxiety and BMI among empty nesters. The results intend to inform the government and media that overweight is a protective factor for anxiety among female empty nesters, necessitating a move toward eliminating weight bias.