It's that time of the year, November is 'Diabetes Action Month' or in some settings 'Diabetes Awareness Month'. The Diabetes New Zealand website describes plenty of activities lined up round the country, and for 2023, the topic is eyes or "Eyes on Diabetes". November also includes IDF World Diabetes Day (WDD) on the 14th with 2023 being the last year of a 3 year focus on prevention of type 2 diabetes and diabetes-related complications.
Having a look around the world, activities run in November are common, though there are a range of days, weeks and months throughout the year where diabetes is the focus.
National Diabetes Month in the US is in November. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) website notes "it’s a time to rally against the diabetes epidemic", and the National Institute of Diabetes or Digestive and Kidney Disorders (NIDDK) website has a focus this year of "taking action to prevent diabetes health problems". A 2022 proclamation from US President JR Biden adds weight to the seriousness, making November officially national diabetes month recognising the 37 million Americans with diabetes at that time.
The recognised World Diabetes Day is the 14th of November, their website stating this was started 1991 by IDF and the World Health Organization in 2006 in "response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes". The day itself is the birthday of the inventor of Insulin, Sir Frederick Banting. This day is reflected in a number of countries, including the UK where Diabetes UK website has a tagline of "Will you help us #StopDiabetesForever?" The WDD has support in 62 countries and is associated with the blue circle logo. Activities such as 'paint your nails blue' in support are being promoted in some places.
In Australia, the Diabetes Australia organisation website describes Diabetes Awareness Week, though that was back 9-15 July and was about 'kick starting the conversation'. Diabetes UK, in addition to acknowledging the World Diabetes Day in November, also have a diabetes awareness week which is 12-18th of June with the 2023 aim of celebrating "everything that makes you, you. Because you’re so much more than your numbers".
And there are other examples internationally, different initiatives and efforts to raise awareness about diabetes, the different types of diabetes, treatments, complications, what it's like to live with diabetes, prevention, or aspects of all of these things. It's great if you can give support to activities in your area, and there are some suggestions below as to how. It's also an opportunity to quietly reflect that diabetes days, weeks and months are good for helping people understand more and get in behind important topics or themes, however for people with diabetes, or caring for or supporting those with the condition...they live with diabetes every day, for them there are diabetes 'years'.
Things you can do
Check out and attend Local Events: best source in Aotearoa, Diabetes NZ
Wear Blue: The circle logo for World Diabetes day is blue, and this colour has become associated with diabetes awareness. Wear blue to show your support.
Share Information: pass on information on your social media networks, or via other means.
Donate: Time or money or in-kind depending on the organisation.