Forkhead transcription factors of the FoxO family play a critical role in cellular differentiation, proliferation, apoptosis and stress resistance. FoxO1 regulates glucose and lipid production in liver; food intake in the hypothalamus and cell differentiation in preadipocytes, myoblasts and vascular endothelium. In this review, we summarize recent literature on the role of FoxO1 in pancreatic β cells. FoxO1 regulates β-cell proliferation and protects against β-cell failure induced by oxidative stress through NeuroD and MafA induction. In addition, FoxO1 nuclear exclusion is required for the proliferative effects of glucoincretin glucagon-like peptide-1 in islets. The data begin to outline an overarching role of FoxO1 in β-cell function.