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Aisling Pigott – Type 1 Diabetes and Disordered Eating Research

Earlier this year, I saw a poster for research being completed on type 1 diabetes and disordered eating, and quickly signed up to take part, as it is a topic I am passionate about and have personal experience of. I quickly realised that the research was being conducted by Aisling Pigott, someone I have been a mutual on social media for a few years. Below, Aisling discusses her career and PhD research, the rationale behind the research and talks about how to get involved in the research!

“As a Paediatric Diabetes Dietitian, I absolutely love working with children, young people and their families to help support them to live life to the fullest, nourish their bodies and self-manage their diabetes. When I started in this speciality in 2015, one of the big challenges I faced was supporting carbohydrate counting from diagnosis, which is best practice in Type 1 Diabetes, and something I’ve been passionate about implementing in my service. However, I was struck by the number of young people who had complex relationship with food, body, and insulin omission. I started to explore eating disorder access for these young people and found that it was overwhelmingly difficult to access services for these young people. There is lots of exciting work being done across Wales now to improve collaborative working across eating disorder teams and diabetes.

I wanted to find out a bit more about how we can protect children and young people with Type 1 Diabetes from developing complex relationships with food and body and was really lucky to receive some funding from RCBC Wales to start my PHD. The first phase of my research is to explore what the lived experience of Type 1 Diabetes and Disordered Eating can add to our current understanding. My early literature review found lots of interesting associations between Type 1 Diabetes and Disordered eating, but much of the literature in this area is expert opinion. There was not research available that explored the voices of the real experts- people with Type 1 Diabetes and disordered eating.

I’ve absolutely loved hearing from the real experts in this area, people with Type 1 Diabetes and a history of disordered eating. I truly believe that we (as HCP’s) have so much to learn from their voice, and expert opinion). My early observations of the data are that future interventions may need to consider a parenting and young person intervention – as well as some support around weight stigma for paediatric diabetes health care professionals. I have recruited and interviewed 11 participants so far, and unfortunately recruitment has slowed down.”

The link to sign up as a participant to help Aisling with this all-important research project is -

There is eligibility criteria for the research, which is: individuals who received diabetes care in the United Kingdom during childhood and have experienced disordered eating. You are ineligible to take part is you have experienced any of the following in the past 2 years:

  • Intense fear of gaining weight, or body image concerns or fear of insulin promoting weight gain

  • Recurrent restriction of insulin to prevent weight gain.

  • Insulin restriction, eating or compensatory behaviours that cause harm to health, diabetes distress or impairment on daily function)

Please consider helping Aisling with her PhD research if you meet the criteria, research studies like this are pivotal to future diabetes care, particularly in this topic where care needs to be increased!

Until next time,

Alyssa x

p.s. If you would like to be a guest blogger, please don't hesitate to get in touch via my social media!

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