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Int J Endocrinol. 2015;2015:903468. doi: 10.1155/2015/903468. Epub 2015 Oct 20.

Challenges of Diabetes Self-Management in Adults Affected by Food Insecurity in a Large Urban Centre of Ontario, Canada.

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Ryerson University, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M5B 2K3.
University Health Network, 399 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M5T 2S8.



To explore how food insecurity affects individuals' ability to manage their diabetes, as narrated by participants living in a large, culturally diverse urban centre.


Qualitative study comprising of in-depth interviews, using a semistructured interview guide.


Participants were recruited from the local community, three community health centres, and a community-based diabetes education centre servicing a low-income population in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Twenty-one English-speaking adults with a diagnosis of diabetes and having experienced food insecurity in the past year (based on three screening questions).


Using six phases of analysis, we used qualitative, deductive thematic analysis to transcribe, code, and analyze participant interviews.


Three themes emerged from our analysis of participants' experiences of living with food insecurity and diabetes: (1) barriers to accessing and preparing food, (2) social isolation, and (3) enhancing agency and resilience.


Food insecurity appears to negatively impact diabetes self-management. Healthcare professionals need to be cognizant of resources, skills, and supports appropriate for people with diabetes affected by food insecurity. Study findings suggest foci for enhancing diabetes self-management support.

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