The German Diabetes Center and Borussia Düsseldorf Team Up to Make Kids Fit

On Tuesday, February 23rd, Düsseldorf’s mayor Thomas Geisel officially launched CHECK! 2016, a fitness project for Düsseldorf primary schools. Third graders from the St. Rochus School were present at the launch ceremony, which took place in the German Table Tennis Center. Also present were other partners in the fitness project – the DZD partner German Diabetes Center with the primary school project "SMS. Sei schlau. Mach mit. Sei fit." (in English: Be smart. Join in. Be fit.) and Borussia Düsseldorf as partner of the Düsseldorf Model, which promotes exercise, sports and talent.

"To increase fitness levels and motor skills by combining the fun of sports with a healthy diet – that is what the Düsseldorf Model, which promotes exercise, sports and talent, is all about. Its goal is to help Düsseldorf schoolchildren become more active. The successful concept is the basis for many sustainable projects in the sports city Düsseldorf, which range from promoting physical activity in general to promoting sports both at a grassroots level and at an elite level,” said Düsseldorf’s mayor Thomas Geisel. “We see positive effects from all of these developments.” The Düsseldorf Model to promote exercise, sports and talent seeks to inspire schoolchildren in Düsseldorf for sports and physical activity and to sustainably increase their fitness levels. It encompasses both the areas of kindergarten, schools and sports clubs as well as leisure activities in sports. In three age groups the children are tested with regard to their basic motor abilities: speed, coordination, strength, endurance and agility. Since the introduction of CHECK! in 2003, around 52,000 second graders have been tested with regard to their motor abilities. This school year about 5,500 children are taking part in the test. After evaluation of the tests the children are invited together with their parents to the different projects and events, which – depending on the test result – promote kids who are particularly talented in sports, support a variety of sports activities or convey more fun in exercise.
An important partner of the Düsseldorf Model is the German Diabetes Center at the University of Düsseldorf with the project for primary schools "SMS. Be smart. Join in. Be fit." The project, which was launched in 2012, seeks to raise awareness in primary school children about the importance of a healthy diet and more exercise. With the ‘aid’ nutrition pilot license, the children not only learn how to handle food and kitchen equipment, but also to try out recipes. Two additional hours of sports per week promote enjoyment of physical activity.
In venues outside the classroom, the children learn much about a healthy diet and exercise, which they experience with all their senses. During the pilot phase of the project, the children underwent a CHECK! motor abilities test at the beginning, at midpoint and at the end of the one-year project. The test results showed positive effects on the children’s motor performance and health status. Meanwhile, eight schools are taking part in the program. The aim is to expand the SMS initiative in Düsseldorf to include at least one participating school in every city district. In 2015 the SMS project was awarded the Prevention Award of the German Obesity Society.
Borussia Düsseldorf is also a partner of the Düsseldorf Model. The successful professional table tennis club with world class players has been a sponsor of CHECK! since 2010. As a close partner, Borussia is involved in many projects such as the sports information fair Kids in Action or the Olympic Adventure Camp. From the outset, Borussia Düsseldorf has supported the goal of promoting sports activities for all children in Düsseldorf. The club therefore participates in the review of talent in accordance with CHECK! However, the commitment of Borussia Düsseldorf is not limited to the promotion of talent. The club is also a partner of the German Diabetes Center and provides a venue outside the classroom for the SMS project. Training sessions at Borussia inspire the children to exercise and participate more in sports.