Top Athletes Help Düsseldorf Primary School Kids Get Fit

The children participating in the initiative “SMS. Be smart. Join in. Be fit.” of the DZD partner German Diabetes Center gain insight into the lives of top athletes.

Inka Grings, two-time European champion in football, Ralf Jaros, multiple German champion in the triple jump, Felix Otto, world champion in rowing, and Hendrik Beyer, multiple German champion and Olympic participant in the high jump visit the primary schools participating in the initiative  “SMS. Be smart. Join in. Be fit.” of the German Diabetes Center. The school children have the opportunity to get acquainted with the star athletes, ask them questions about their sport, the competitions and the training and what life is like as a top athlete. Then there is time for a joint exercise session. Through selected exercises, the athletes introduce the kids to their particular sport and show them how much fun exercise can be.

“Unfortunately, nutrition and exercise are given too little attention in this day and age. I believe that through the SMS initiative these topics can be interesting and exciting for the kids, and it is only natural for me, especially as a native of Düsseldorf, to support this initiative," said Inka Grings, explaining her commitment. “Who could convey the importance of regular exercise and a balanced diet more convincingly than successful athletes?" said project leader Professor Karsten Müssig, stressing the importance of the mentors in the SMS initiative.

The initiative “SMS. Be smart. Join in. Be fit." led by Professor Karsten Müssig at Düsseldorf primary schools seeks to counteract overweight/obesity and other lifestyle-related diseases in childhood and adolescence. The children earn  their “aid” nutrition pilot license in cooperation with the Educational 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 experience the perception of their own body 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.  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. In 2015 the SMS initiative was awarded the support logo of IN FORM – Germany’s initiative for a healthy diet and more exercise, and in 2016 was awarded the GUT DRAUF label of the German Center for Health Education (BZgA).

Further information about the initiative is available at: