We would like to acknowledge that the land on which this project took place, and on which the Region of Peel operates, is part of the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. For thousands of years, Indigenous peoples inhabited and cared for this land. In particular, we acknowledge the territory of the Anishinabek, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee, and Ojibway/Chippewa peoples; the land that is home to the Metis; and most recently, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation who are direct descendants of the Mississaugas of the Credit.

We are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land, and by doing so,

give our respect to its first inhabitants.


The South Asian Adolescent Diabetes Awareness Program (SAADAP) implemented a PhotoVoice Project, using a participatory action research (PAR) approach called Beyond the Body. The goal of this arts-based qualitative study was to engage South Asian youth in expressing their perspectives on diabetes prevention that extend beyond the behavioural factors (e.g. physical activity and dietary patterns) they think are important in the community using visual narratives that combines photographs and written “voices”. 


Beyond the Body captures the daily lives of 15 South Asian youth with a family history of diabetes. Through photography, the youth consider the individual, interpersonal, organizational, community and policy level factors that they feel impact diabetes risk and management in their communities. 


The main goals of the PhotoVoice Project through our South Asian youth is to: 

  • Challenge the dominant perspective that blames South Asian individuals for being afflicted with diabetes and brings attention to the structural factors (low income, employment insecurity, low educational attainment, and poor living conditions) that put this racialized community at a higher risk.

  • Inform government, academia, healthcare, social-service agencies and the broader public to think about the influence that public and health policies has on the risk of developing diabetes among the South Asian population.

  • Bring attention to a specific policy in the provision of more diabetes prevention services such as the SAADAP for South Asian youth with a family history of diabetes using a social determinants framework.

Short film

This short film documentary shares the unique experiences of young South Asians tackling the diabetes epidemic in the Peel Region of Ontario, Canada. Through the eyes of youth participating in SAADAP, we examine how migration stressors, income insecurity, mental health, the built environment, and interpersonal relationships influence diabetes risk in their racialized communities.

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.


Meet the Directors

Shudipta Shabnam Islam and Amina Khan are South Asian public health professionals from the SAADAP team who co-produced the Beyond the Body documentary. 


Read through some of the stories our participants shared with is during the Beyond the Body PhotoVoice Project.

Thriving in Your Community


Supersized Lies


Too Much to Handle

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Better but not Accessible

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Mithai in Moderation


A Time Limit on Health


Participants were engaged in a series of workshops in the Region of Peel in 2019. These workshops were developed and facilitated by members of the research team - a group of racialized, public-health graduates.

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WhatsApp Image 2019-02-09 at 12.21
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WhatsApp Image 2019-02-09 at 12.21

Session 1: Orientation 

Introduced group expectations, social determinants of health and the Beyond the Body Project.

Session 2: PhotoVoice & Photography 

Outlined the PhotoVoice tool and taught participants photography basics.

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Session 3: Social Determinants of Health 

Facilitated a conversation on the social determinants of diabetes using the socio-ecological model. Participants were also guided through a photography demo, covering topics including consent and safety.

Participants were given two weeks to photograph their community using the following prompts:

  • 'What are health and unhealthy elements in your life and/or community?'

  • 'What are positive and negative elements that shape your health and your family's health?'

Session 4: Focus Groups

Participants were divided into three focus groups, consisting of 5-6 participants and 2 facilitators. Participants selected their top photographs and engaged in a facilitated, reflexive discussion using the SHOWeD technique. 

Session 5: Reflection & Civic Action

Introduced participants into civic-action approaches and included a hands on activity with advocacy strategies. 


Focus Groups

Each youth participant selected two visual narrative stories to share for focus group discussion. The SHOWeD method by Caroline Wang and Mary Anne Burris was used to engage youth in a series of questions to critically analyze the content of their photographs. Through answering the SHOWeD questions and combining their photos with their narratives, youth began to define themes related to how migration stressors, income insecurity, mental health, the built environment, and interpersonal relationships influence higher rates of diabetes in the South Asian population. 

Thank you to the SAADAP research team, steering committee, youth advisory council, funders, and community partners for making this event and program possible. 


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