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 beta cells. FoxO1 regulates beta-cell proliferation and protects against beta-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 beta-cell function.