Initiative Launched for a Healthy Lifestyle in Childhood


In collaboration with the agency Feuer&Flamme, the German Diabetes Center, a partner in the DZD, has launched an initiative for healthy nutrition and more exercise for children in primary schools in Düsseldorf. The project is supported by two health insurance companies, prestigious partners and Düsseldorf celebrities. Its patron is Dirk Elbers, mayor of Düsseldorf, the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Many children have an increased risk for developing diet-related diseases due to poor eating and drinking habits, and the number of overweight schoolchildren has doubled .
This was the impetus for the German Diabetes Center (DDZ) together with the agency Feuer&Flamme, to launch the initiative “SMS. Be smart. Participate. Be fit.” at primary schools in Düsseldorf. The project aims to raise primary school children’s awareness of the issue of nutrition, exercise and health. The goal is to achieve a positive behavioral change in children to counteract obesity and diet-related diseases.
“The sooner the children train healthy behavior, the easier it will be for them to maintain this behavior throughout life,” said Professor Karsten Müssig, MD, who is scientific head of the project.” We want to spark children’s enthusiasm for the issue so that they will become “little ambassadors” for a healthy lifestyle,” said Angelika Czernick of Feuer & Flamme. The initiative is supported by two German health insurance companies, IKK Classic and KKH Allianz, as well as renowned scientists and institutions in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The program consists of specially designed lessons on nutrition and a sports program. Tests at the beginning and following the six-month project phase document the extent of improvement of the children’s behavior and fitness. Sports clubs such as Fortuna Düsseldorf, Borussia Düsseldorf with the newly crowned European champion Timo Boll and the ice hockey players of Düsseldorf EG support the project by inviting the children to joint training sessions with the youth teams as well as to Bundesliga matches. In the Medi-Circus created by Professor Dietrich Grönemeyer the children learn how the body functions. Düsseldorf bakers gave demonstrations showing all the healthy nutrients bread contains. Master baker Josef Hinkel said: “A healthy diet, starting with breakfast each morning, makes our children fit for the school day.” The supporters of the initiative, including a number of current and former European and world champions as well as Olympic champions, also stress that a balanced diet and physical exercise are an important basis for competitive athletics.
For more information about the initiative and statements of supporters and partners, please visit: