From our school years on, we spend a great part of our days doing activities sitting down. At the same time, we have an almost unlimited and ubiquitous supply of food. Due to low physical activity, these factors often result in an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure and favor the development of overweight. According to the latest results of the KiGGS study on the health of children and adolescents in Germany, about 14.9% of girls and 16.1% of boys between the ages of seven and ten are overweight. Particularly at risk are children with a low social status and a migrant background. These factors are not limited to childhood and also tend to have a significant impact on people‘s health status as adults. In this context, the initiative "SMS. Be smart. Join in. Be fit." seeks to positively influence children’s lifestyle while they are growing up and to promote the long-term prevention of overweight and lifestyle-related illnesses already at a young age. The aim of the SMS initiative is to encourage children to develop healthy eating habits and to exercise regularly. The initiative is supported by the Düsseldorf Sports Club 1899.
Under the direction of Gabi Schöwe, silver medalist at the 1984 Olympic Games in hockey and mentor of the SMS initiative, the primary school students of the GGS Max-Halbe-Straße and the Matthias Claudius School have the opportunity to complete a hockey taster training and gain an insight into this special sport. In different exercises and forms of play the children learn to develop a feeling for the ball and to use the club correctly for ball guidance as well as ball delivery and acceptance. As a special distinction, the students receive a participant certificate at the end of the training session.
"Due to its versatility, hockey is ideal as a team sport and for teaching children how to enjoy exercise. In addition, sports always offer children the opportunity to recover from stressful school day and spend time with friends," said Gabi Schöwe, explaining the advantages of an active lifestyle. Professor Karsten Müssig, project manager of the SMS initiative, added: "When we see with how much enthusiasm the children take part in the trial training sessions of our partners, we are encouraged in our approach. Through fun activities, we want to inspire young children to eat a balanced diet and to exercise regularly. Thus, lifestyle-related diseases can be prevented over the long term."
The initiative led by Professor Müssig, “SMS. Be smart. Join in. Be fit." in Düsseldorf and Neuss primary schools seeks to counteract overweight and other lifestyle-related diseases in childhood and adolescence. The SMS initiative is sponsored by the association Düsseldorfer Kids mit PFIFF and is scientifically supported by the German Diabetes Center (DDZ). The participating children complete the nutrition pilot license program in cooperation with the Health Education Center for Dietary Assistants of the Kaiserswerther Diakonie and take part in the exercise program for primary schools “Fitness for Kids” developed by sports scientist Professor Kerstin Ketelhut. In addition, the pupils are taught how to deal with stress in the sensory classroom of the Präha Weber School in a motor skills training course. They are also taught relaxation exercises in cooperation with the initiative “Physical Activity during School Recess” of the Dietrich Grönemeyer Foundation and the Deichmann company. Furthermore, in cooperation with the Techniker health insurance company, the participating school classes take part in the course "Loosen Up! - Stress Management for Children".
The two health insurance companies IKK classic and KKH, the organization diabetesDE - German Diabetes Aid, the Sports Department of Düsseldorf and other renowned partners and prominent people support the project and provide the participating school children with additional attractive venues for learning outside of school. The patron of the initiative is Thomas Geisel, mayor of the state capital Düsseldorf. The SMS initiative was awarded the support logo of IN FORM, Germany’s initiative for a healthy diet and more exercise the GUT DRAUF label of the German Center for Health Education (BZgA).
Further information is available at: www.sms-mach-mit.de