It was led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), each World Diabetes Day focuses on a theme related to diabetes; type-2 diabetes is largely preventable and treatable non-communicable disease that is rapidly increasing in numbers worldwide. Type 1 diabetes is not preventable but can be managed with insulin injections. Topics covered have included diabetes and human rights, diabetes and lifestyle, diabetes and obesity, diabetes in the disadvantaged and the vulnerable, and diabetes in children and adolescents. While the campaigns last the whole year, the day itself marks the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1922.
By 2016, World Diabetes Day was being commemorated by over 230 IDF member associations in more than 160 countries and territories, as well as by other organizations, companies, healthcare professionals, politicians, celebrities, and people living with diabetes and their families. Activities include diabetes screening programmes, radio and television campaigns, sports events and others.
Themes of previous World Diabetes Day campaigns have focused on different factors that influence the risk of diabetes and its complications:
- 2013: Protect our Future: Diabetes Education and Prevention.
- 2014: Go Blue for Breakfast.
- 2015: Healthy Eating.
- 2016: Eyes on Diabetes.
- 2017: Women and diabetes – our right to a healthy future.
- 2018–2019: The Family and Diabetes – diabetes concerns every family.
- 2020: The Nurse and Diabetes.
- 2021–2023: Access to Diabetes Care.
- St. Vincent Declaration
- Epidemiology of diabetes mellitus
- World Health Day 2016: Beat Diabetes (WHO)
- International DiabetesFederation. "World Diabetes Day | Diabetes: protect your family".
- "Previous campaigns". World Diabetes Day. International Diabetes Federation. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- "The history of the discovery of insulin". Portsmouth Daily Times. 7 November 2017. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
- World Health Organization. Promoting health through the life-course: World Diabetes Day 2016. Geneva, accessed 7 November 2016.
- Diabetes.co.uk.Diabetes Week.
- "World Diabetes day: Themes and Activities". badhaai.com. 25 September 2017.
- "International Diabetes Federation – World Diabetes Day 2018–19". www.idf.org.