Diabetes Awareness Month: Ways to Get Involved

Diabetes Awareness Month happens each year in November. It is a time to celebrate progress in diabetes research, share information, and raise funds for continued diabetes research and advances.

Over 37 million Americans have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and an additional 37 million adults have prediabetes. November is the month that these people, along with family, friends, and supporters, come together and share their experiences with diabetes.

Learn more about Diabetes Awareness Month and how you can get involved.

Diabetes Awareness Month blue ribbon with blood drop shape for supporting people living, prevention and illness

Panuwat Dangsungnoen / Getty Images

Diabetes Awareness

Awareness months, weeks, and days are observed to teach the public about specific medical conditions and improve health outcomes. The number of official health awareness days has increased over the past 50 years, with nearly 200 in observance.

Facts About Diabetes Awareness Month

Learning about Diabetes Awareness Month is a great way to show your support. Here are some fast facts:

  1. It takes place in November.
  2. It began in 1975.
  3. It was officially recognized in 1981 by President Reagan.
  4. It includes World Diabetes Day (November 14).
  5. The ribbon color is blue.
  6. The symbol is a blue circle.
  7. The goals are to come together, share, learn, celebrate, and promote healthy changes.

National Day

In addition to National Diabetes Awareness month, Diabetes Alert Day occurs on the fourth Thursday of March every year. Some of the goals of Diabetes Alert Day are to raise diabetes awareness and encourage people to get screened to assess their risk of diabetes.

National Month

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. This month became officially recognized by Congress in the 1980s, but it began in 1975 and was trademarked American Diabetes Month in 1977.

One of the reasons for observing this month, along with awareness and health promotion, is to celebrate the 1968 invention of the insulin pump, additional medical advances, and future diabetes research.


World Diabetes Day is an international diabetes awareness day that began in 1991 and became official in 2006 with the United Nations. It occurs each year on November 14, the birthday of Dr. Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin, a medication used to treat diabetes.

The goals of this day are to raise awareness of the disease and look for opportunities to improve health outcomes through prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

What Is the Diabetes Ribbon Color?

Color-coded ribbons are used as symbols to represent specific causes. Blue is the designated ribbon color to signify support for diabetes. However, people and organizations may also use a gray and blue ribbon since gray was the color for diabetes before it changed to blue.

Is There a Symbol for Diabetes?

In addition to ribbons, a blue circle has become an international symbol for diabetes.

This blue circle symbol signifies the following:

  • The United Nations flag, representing international diabetes support
  • The blue color of the sky
  • Diabetes community unity
  • The circle signifies Mother Earth, health, and life

The United Nations officially recognizes the blue circle as the symbol of diabetes.

Activities and Ways to Get Involved

There are many ways to get involved in Diabetes Awareness Month and support health in the diabetes community. If you have diabetes, you can share your story to help others to understand what living with diabetes is like.

If you don't have diabetes but want to get involved in the community, you can start by learning how to lower your risk of diabetes and support people living with diabetes.

The goal of Diabetes Awareness Month is to make progress through shared discussion around the topic.

During this month, it is also essential to focus on participating in awareness activities that lead to change. Sharing actionable information may help people reduce their risk of developing diabetes or managing it if they have already been diagnosed.

Additional Diabetes Resources

If you are interested in getting involved and supporting efforts to increase diabetes awareness, research, and advances, check out the following organizations:


Diabetes Awareness Month takes place in November. It is a time to join together to support people with diabetes, celebrate medical progress, and promote changes to reduce diabetes prevalence and improve health outcomes for people with the disease. Coming together to share ideas, learn, and raise awareness helps support changes that promote health.

A Word From Verywell

Although diabetes can be a challenging condition to live with, getting involved and raising awareness about diabetes can help you (or someone you love) feel less alone. Talk to your healthcare provider about getting screened for diabetes and learn how to reduce your risk. If you are living with diabetes, know that proper treatment and lifestyle management make it possible to lead a long, healthy life with diabetes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who started Diabetes Awareness Month?

    The American Diabetes Association created Diabetes Awareness Month in 1975, and in 1981, it was recognized officially by President Reagan. World Diabetes Day is on November 14, and the United Nations formally recognized it in 2006.

  • What are the Diabetes Awareness Month themes?

    Each year, there is a new theme for Diabetes Awareness Month. In 2022, the theme was Diabetes Management: It Takes a Team. This theme encourages people with diabetes to take an active role in managing diabetes and working with a healthcare provider to improve their health.

  • How can you celebrate Diabetes Awareness Month?

    There are many ways to celebrate diabetes awareness month. If you have diabetes, share your story. For people who do not have diabetes, learning about diabetes care and lifestyle management is a great way to support someone living with the disease. It has become a tradition to wear blue on Fridays in November and on November 14 for World Diabetes Day to offer support and spread awareness.

15 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. JDRF. National Diabetes Awareness Month 2022.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The facts, stats, and impacts of diabetes.

  3. American Diabetes Association. November is American diabetes month.

  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National health observances.

  5. Purtle J, Roman LA. Health awareness days: sufficient evidence to support the craze? Am J Public Health. 2015;105(6):1061-1065. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.302621

  6. Diabetes Advocacy. Clarity regarding the symbol for diabetes.

  7. World Health Organization. World Diabetes Day.

  8. Bellevue University. National Diabetes Month.

  9. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Diabetes Alert Day.

  10. United States Census Bureau. National Diabetes Month: November 2022.

  11. Pan-American Health Organization. World Diabetes Day 2022.

  12. Disabled World. Awareness ribbons chart: color, meaning, causes.

  13. JDRF. JDRF is true blue for National Diabetes Awareness Month.

  14. International Diabetes Federation. Who we are.

  15. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. National Diabetes Month 2022.

By Ashley Olivine, Ph.D., MPH
Dr. Ashley Olivine is a health psychologist and public health professional with over a decade of experience serving clients in the clinical setting and private practice. She has also researched a wide variety psychology and public health topics such as the management of health risk factors, chronic illness, maternal and child wellbeing, and child development.