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Can J Diabetes. 2014 Feb;38(1):32-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2013.08.267.

Self-management, health service use and information seeking for diabetes care among Black Caribbean immigrants in Toronto.

Author information

University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:
Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Steps to Equity, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



The objective of this research was to explore self-management practices and the use of diabetes information and care among Black-Caribbean immigrants with type 2 diabetes.


The study population included Black-Caribbean immigrants and Canadian-born participants between the ages of 35 to 64 years with type 2 diabetes. Study participants were recruited from community health centres (CHCs), diabetes education centres, hospital-based diabetes clinics, the Canadian Diabetes Association and immigrant-serving organizations. A structured questionnaire was used to collect demographics and information related to diabetes status, self-management practices and the use of diabetes information and care.


Interviews were conducted with 48 Black-Caribbean immigrants and 54 Canadian-born participants with type 2 diabetes. Black-Caribbean immigrants were significantly more likely than the Canadian-born group to engage in recommended diabetes self-management practices (i.e. reduced fat diet, reduced carbohydrate diet, non-smoking and regular physical activity) and receive regular A1C and eye screening by a health professional. Black-Caribbean immigrant participants were significantly more likely to report receiving diabetes information and care through a community health centre (CHC) and nurses and dieticians than their Canadian-born counterparts.


CHCs and allied health professionals play an important role in the management of diabetes in the Black-Caribbean immigrant community and may contribute to this group's favourable diabetes self-management profile and access to information and care. Additional research is necessary to confirm whether these findings are generalizable to the Black-Caribbean community in general (i.e. immigrant and non-immigrant) and to determine whether the use of CHCs and/or allied health professionals is associated with favourable outcomes in the Black-Caribbean immigrant community as well as others.


Black Caribbean; Caraïbes noirs; diabetes care; diabetes self-management practices; diabète de type 2; disparités raciales et ethniques; health services; immigrants; pratiques de prise en charge autonome du diabète; racial and ethnic disparities; type 2 diabetes

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