Getting Ready for World Diabetes Day 2021

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Getting Ready for World Diabetes Day 2021

World Diabetes Day 2021 is coming up in just a couple of weeks — November 14, 2021, to be exact. Each year, this day features a number of diabetes awareness campaigns, both in the physical world and online. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, virtual events and activities are taking a more prominent role this year than they have in the past — but there may still be ways to get involved in your community.

World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness in response to rising diabetes rates worldwide, and it was made an official United Nations holiday in 2006. It’s recognized on November 14 to mark the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who discovered insulin along with Charles Best in 1922.

Each year, the IDF selects a theme for World Diabetes Day. In 2020, it was The Nurse and Diabetes, to highlight the vital role nurses play in supporting people with diabetes.

For World Diabetes Day 2021–2023, the theme is Access to Diabetes Care, to highlight the barriers to medicines, technologies, support, and care that millions of people with diabetes around the world face.

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What’s going on in 2021

World Diabetes Day events, as a rule, aren’t centrally planned. Instead, a variety of groups and individuals decide to organize and host events and activities.

Since the main objective of the day is diabetes awareness, there are a few different online efforts to spread the word about various aspects of diabetes. A new initiative for this year is Insulin at 100, an online platform that includes a timeline of the history of diabetes and its treatment, information on the reality of access to diabetes treatments 100 years after insulin was discovered, and testimonials from people living with diabetes around the world — as well as an online form to submit your own testimonial about living with diabetes.

As it has in previous years, the IDF offers an online risk assessment to evaluate your risk for type 2 diabetes. The group encourages people both to take the assessment, and to share it with others — including through social media — as part of World Diabetes Day.

Another campaign that spans the digital and physical worlds is the IDF’s blue circle campaign, which aims to share this universal symbol for diabetes awareness far and wide. Various diabetes-related groups and workplaces also encourage members to wear blue for World Diabetes Day, and often post photos on social media — sometimes with the group posing in a circle. This year, like last year, it’s expected that most people will share symbols while staying physically distanced, such as by using the blue circle selfie app for iOS and Android phones and tablets.

World Diabetes Day is also the main day of the Global Diabetes Walk, in which millions of people have participated since it began in 2004. Depending on your location, it may take place on any day in November. This year, nearly 484 walks are scheduled to take place around the world, and you can find out if there is a walk near you by exploring a world map and list of walks.

How to get involved

There are a few ways to get involved with World Diabetes Day 2021, depending on how much time and effort you’d like to spend.

One of the easiest ways is to be active on social media, such as by sharing key messages about diabetes access or diabetes facts and figures. To help you do this, the IDF offers toolkits for awareness and media outreach in English, Spanish, and French.

You can also take a selfie on the day of the event and share it, ideally while wearing blue or a blue circle — or using the official blue circle selfie app. And if you’d like to, you can pledge your support for the IDF’s call to action on improving access to diabetes resources, and share your support on social media

You can also look for a local World Diabetes Day event — including virtual events — although the official worldwide event page may not be helpful, as it only includes events that are shared with the IDF. You may have better luck looking for a JDRF event online or in your area, including events related to National Diabetes Month (November) in the United States.

If you’re looking to take on a project, you can organize and promote a local event for World Diabetes Day and register it with the IDF. An event can be almost anything — a purely symbolic or commemorative activity (including lighting a building or monument in blue), a rally involving people speaking about diabetes, or an educational seminar.

If you’re organizing an event or if you work in a health care setting, you can use official educational and promotional materials that are available for World Diabetes Day.

No matter what your skills are or how much time you have, there’s a way to get the word out about diabetes on November 14.

Want to learn more about ways to observe World Diabetes Day and National Diabetes Month this November? Read “Ten Ways to Observe National Diabetes Month.”

Quinn Phillips

Quinn Phillips

Quinn Phillips on social media

A freelance health writer and editor based in Wisconsin, Phillips has a degree from Harvard University. He is a former Editorial Assistant for Diabetes Self-Management and has years of experience covering diabetes and related health conditions. Phillips writes on a variety of topics, but is especially interested in the intersection of health and public policy.

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