Food insecurity in Canadian adults receiving diabetes care

Can J Diet Pract Res. 2012 Fall;73(3):e261-6. doi: 10.3148/73.3.2012.e261.


Purpose: The prevalence of adult-level household food insecurity was examined among clients receiving outpatient diabetes health care services.

Methods: Participants were adults diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, who attended individual counselling sessions at Calgary's main clinic from January to April 2010. Clinicians were trained to administer the Household Food Security Survey Module (HFSSM), and did so with clients' assent during their scheduled sessions.

Results: The prevalence of adult-level household food insecurity among 314 respondents was 15.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 11.2 to 19.4); 6.7% (95% CI, 4.2 to 10.0) of clinic attendees were categorized as severely food insecure. The comparable rates obtained in Alberta in 2007 using the same instrument (HFSSM) were 5.6% and 1.2%, respectively.

Conclusions: Household food insecurity rates among individuals with diabetes in active care are higher than rates reported in Canadian population surveys. Severe food insecurity, indicating reduced food intake and disrupted eating patterns, may affect this population's ability to follow a pattern of healthy eating necessary for effective diabetes management. This study reinforces the importance of assessing clients' inability to access food because of financial constraints, and indicates that screening with a validated measure may facilitate identification of clients at risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alberta
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Diabetes Mellitus*
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Food Supply / economics
  • Food Supply / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence