Food insecurity leads to higher rates of type 2 diabetes, compromised physical health

Saskatoon, SK - Community Food Centres Canada, in partnership with the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre, is using a $60,000 grant from Medavie Health Foundation to support FoodFit, a program that bridges the gap between diet-related illness rooted in poverty and a healthy active lifestyle, reducing risk factors for type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.

FoodFit targets low-income community members who experience barriers around healthy eating and physical activity. It helps participants make lasting, positive changes to their health through activities such as hands-on cooking sessions, exercise, and goal setting in a motivating and supportive group dynamic. It will be available through the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre, which offers programs and services addressing food insecurity and poverty, including a community kitchen and urban agriculture initiative.

Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC) is one of 23 organizations receiving funding through Medavie Health Foundation’s 2017 Grants Program in support of programs aligned with child and youth mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder, and type 2 diabetes. Since late 2011, the Foundation has committed over $10.7 million to single and multi-year grant and partnership programs, some of which have yet to be announced.

Quick Facts

  • FoodFit was developed by CFCC in 2014, with input from nutritionists, community members and a medical doctor. Outcomes have been very positive, with 88 per cent of participants with pre-existing health conditions reporting they were better able to manage their condition because of FoodFit, and 83 per cent of participants reporting changes to their physical health.
  • The Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre has been a member of CFCC’s Good Food Organization program since 2015 and is committed to building a food secure community where all people have access to safe, affordable, and nutritious food.
  • Evidence suggests that people who are food insecure consume fewer nutritionally adequate foods and experience higher rates of type 2 diabetes, depression, heart disease, hypertension, fibromyalgia, and compromised physical health. They also have greater difficulty managing their disease than those with more resources.
  • Some 29 per cent of the Saskatchewan population is living with diabetes or prediabetes. The province has high rates of many of the risk factors that contribute to diabetes prevalence: low fruit and vegetable consumption, low physical activity rates, heavy tobacco use, and a high prevalence of overweight and obesity. 1 


 “Improving access to healthy food choices and teaching people practical, hands-on skills that promote healthy eating helps to reduce risk factors for chronic health conditions, including type 2 diabetes. This program is also an example of a different kind of health care, one that takes place in our kitchens and community centres in helping individuals take control of their health and live their best lives.
– Bernard Lord, CEO, Medavie

 “Through the Medavie Health Foundation, our organization supports health-related outcomes in the communities where we live and work. This program will make a real difference to people on an individual and community level. We’re proud of our support of the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre.
– Gerry Schriemer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief of EMS, MD Ambulance, Medavie Health Services

“The biggest risk factor for developing a diet-related illness is poverty. This is why places and programs like FoodFit are so important—they democratize the ability to lead a healthy lifestyle. We’re thrilled to work with partners like Medavie Health Foundation who are committed to investing in progressive solutions to our country’s pressing health issues—ones that make it easier for people living on low incomes to be healthier and feel more connected to their communities.”
Nick Saul, President & CEO, Community Food Centres Canada

“We welcome the opportunity to partner with great companies like Medavie to offer programs that will increase food security in our community and support vulnerable families. We can provide an opportunity to integrate the community’s skills and knowledge about food preparation.”
-Laurie O’Connor, Executive Director, Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre

Associated Links
Community Food Centres Canada
Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre
12016 Report on Diabetes in Saskatchewan