Beyond the Body: Using Photovoice to Explore Social Determinants of Diabetes With South Asian Adolescents in the Peel Region of Ontario

Banerjee, A. T., Islam, S. S., Khan, A., Hussain, N., Ascencio, E., & Hafleen, N. (2023, novembre)

Canadian Journal of Diabetes



The higher prevalence of diabetes in the South Asian (SA) population living in Canada spans across generations and is often associated with individual risk factors while undermining the social determinants of health (SDOH). There is a scarcity of studies on the perspectives of SA adolescents with a family history of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Learning directly from the adolescents can fill a major gap by providing insight on how the SDOH contribute to disproportionate rates of T2DM in SA immigrant communities.


In this study we used Photovoice, which is a community-based participatory research (CBPR) method that involves the use of photography to visually capture the challenges of diabetes prevention from the perspective of those with lived experiences. A group of 15 SA youth were recruited from an adolescent diabetes education program in the Peel Region of Ontario. The youth discussed their images and accompanied written narratives during focus groups.


Four themes emerged from the thematic analysis of the photographs and participant narratives that influence the manifestation of T2DM in SA communities: 1) immigration and resettlement stressors; 2) food insecurity; 3) unhealthy school environments; and 4) academic pressures.


Findings suggest the need to address T2DM as a response to unjust conditions and environments rather than as an epidemic entrenched in genetic predisposition, culture, and poor lifestyle choices.