World Diabetes Day 2023: Theme, History, and Significance

OV Digital Desk
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World Diabetes Day is observed every year on 14 November. It is observed to raise global awareness campaigns focusing on diabetes mellitus, commonly known as just diabetes. World Diabetes Day was launched in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to the rapid rise of diabetes around the world. The disease is a major source of death and ranked ninth leading cause of death in 2019 with an estimated 1.5 million deaths directly caused by diabetes. It is also held responsible for the major causes of kidney failure, blindness, heart attacks, stroke, and lower limb amputation. Also, as per WHO estimation, between 2000 and 2016, there was a 5% increase in premature mortality from diabetes.

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What is Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as just diabetes is a group of metabolic disorders characterized by a high blood sugar level over a prolonged period of time. It happens due to either the pancreas not producing enough insulin or body cells stop responding to the produced insulin. There are primarily three types of the disease.


Type 1 diabetes (T1D) was earlier known as juvenile diabetes. In the case of such a disease, truly little or no insulin is produced by the pancreas. Common symptoms for such type of diabetes are common symptoms are frequent urination, increased thirst, increased hunger, and weight loss. It is not preventable but can be managed with insulin injections.

Type 2 diabetes, also known as non-insulin dependent. It is caused in case the body ineffectively uses insulin. More than 95% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity. Symptom for this type of diabetes is less obvious and as a result, detected once complication is seen. Type 2 diabetes makes up about 90% of cases of diabetes, with the other 10% due primarily to type 1 diabetes. Whereas management of type 2 diabetes is concerned, keeping blood glucose levels in the normal range is the most optimal path currently

Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. Women with gestational diabetes are at an increased risk of complications during pregnancy and at delivery. These women and their children are also at increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the future. it is diagnosed through prenatal screening, rather than through reported symptoms.


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Prevention of the Diabetes

As per WHO, the following are approaches to preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes.  To help prevent type 2 diabetes and its complications, people should:

  • achieve and keep healthy body weight.
  • be physically active – doing at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days. More activity is required for weight control.
  • eat a healthy diet, avoid sugar and saturated fats; and
  • avoid tobacco use – smoking increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Theme of World Diabetes Day 2023

Every year, the World Diabetes Day campaign focuses on a dedicated theme that runs for one or more years. This year, 2023, the World Diabetes Day theme is “Access to diabetes care”. The theme highlights the importance of having equal access to the right information and essential care to ensure people get timely treatment and management. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2021-23 is Access to Diabetes Care – If Not Now, When?

History of World Diabetes Day

World Diabetes Day (WDD) traces its origins back to the year 1991 when it was first introduced by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to the escalating concerns surrounding diabetes worldwide. The chosen date, November 14th, holds special significance as it marks the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, the co-discoverer of insulin. The primary aim of WDD is to raise awareness about diabetes, its causes, symptoms, and preventive measures while advocating for improved care and management of the condition. Over the years, the observance has evolved into a global campaign, engaging millions of people, organizations, and governments to address the growing diabetes epidemic. The blue circle, representing unity in the fight against diabetes, has become a widely recognized symbol. Through educational initiatives, events, and campaigns, World Diabetes Day continues to play a crucial role in promoting diabetes awareness and fostering collective efforts toward a healthier and more informed global community.

Significance of World Diabetes Day


World Diabetes Day holds immense significance as a global initiative dedicated to raising awareness about diabetes and advocating for better care and prevention strategies. One of the key roles of this day is to educate people worldwide about the impact of diabetes on individuals, families, and societies. By highlighting the causes, symptoms, and complications associated with diabetes, the day aims to empower individuals to make informed lifestyle choices and seek timely medical attention.

Moreover, World Diabetes Day serves as a platform to address the urgent need for effective diabetes management and prevention programs. The escalating global prevalence of diabetes makes it a critical public health issue, and the day encourages governments, healthcare organizations, and communities to prioritize diabetes-related policies and initiatives. This includes efforts to improve access to healthcare, promote healthy living, and invest in research for better treatment options and a potential cure.

The day also fosters a sense of solidarity among people living with diabetes, their families, and the broader community. Through various activities, events, and campaigns, World Diabetes Day helps reduce the stigma associated with diabetes and emphasizes the importance of support networks.

The choice of November 14th, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, co-discoverer of insulin, adds a poignant historical dimension. Insulin is a life-saving treatment for people with diabetes, and the day serves as a reminder of the progress made in diabetes care while acknowledging the ongoing challenges.

Events at World Diabetes Day

World Diabetes Day is marked by various events and activities around the world, all aimed at raising awareness about diabetes, promoting prevention strategies, and advocating for better care. Some common events associated with World Diabetes Day include:

  • Educational Campaigns: Many organizations, healthcare institutions, and communities organize educational campaigns to disseminate information about diabetes, its risk factors, symptoms, and preventive measures. These campaigns may include workshops, seminars, and distribution of educational materials.
  • Screening and Testing Programs: Health organizations often conduct free or discounted diabetes screening and testing programs on or around World Diabetes Day. This allows individuals to assess their risk and take necessary steps towards early diagnosis and management.
  • Walks and Runs: Numerous walks, runs, and marathons are organized globally to promote physical activity and a healthy lifestyle. Participants often wear blue, the color associated with diabetes awareness, and engage in these events to show support for those affected by diabetes.
  • Community Events: Local communities may organize events such as health fairs, cooking demonstrations focused on healthy eating, and wellness check-ups. These events bring people together to learn more about diabetes and encourage healthier living.
  • Social Media Campaigns: The use of social media is a prevalent aspect of World Diabetes Day. People and organizations share information, personal stories, and supportive messages using hashtags like #WorldDiabetesDay and #WDD to reach a broader audience.
  • Public Lectures and Panel Discussions: Educational institutions and healthcare organizations often host lectures and panel discussions featuring experts in the field of diabetes. These events provide opportunities for the public to learn more about the latest developments in diabetes research and management.
  • Building Illuminations: Landmarks and buildings around the world may be illuminated in blue on World Diabetes Day to symbolize unity in the global fight against diabetes. This visual display helps raise awareness and captures public attention.
  • Fundraising Activities: Many organizations use World Diabetes Day as an opportunity to raise funds for diabetes research, support services, and advocacy initiatives. Fundraising events may include charity walks, runs, or online campaigns.
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