Top Athletes Train with Düsseldorf SMS Primary School Students

Sponsors of the initiative “SMS. Be smart. Join in. Be fit." of the DZD partner German Diabetes Center give the participating children insight into their sport.

More and more children have motor deficits, some of which are significant. For example, some first graders have difficulty walking backwards or standing on one leg. Decreasing physical ability and motor skills increase the risk of becoming overweight and developing diseases such as diabetes. The initiative “SMS. Be smart. Join in. Be fit." seeks to counteract this development and is supported in this endeavor by well-known Düsseldorf athletes. These include Robby Gerhardt, the two-time world champion in rowing, Miriam Frenken, the World Cup winner in canoe racing, and Dr. Dorothee Mechau, member of the winning team of the German Cross Country Championship. The top athletes are actively involved in the SMS initiative by offering training sessions to the participating schools. Encouraging physical activity by making exercise fun is of course the main objective. The kids are introduced to sports through a variety of fun activities. For example, Dr. Mechau introduced the kids to the basics of running by offering a “run for fun” training session. The children also played a game to get acquainted and had the opportunity to ask the athletes questions. “I am very glad to pass on my experience to young people to inspire them to participate in sports,” said rower Robby Gerhardt, explaining the reason for his commitment. “Who could be more credible conveying the importance of exercise and a healthy diet than a successful athlete?” said project leader Professor Karsten Müssig, underscoring the importance of the sponsors for the SMS initiative.

School children of the GGS Max-Halbe-Straße with SMS sponsor Dr. Dorothee Mechau and trainer Ebru Üzümovali. Photo: SMS

The initiative “SMS. Be smart. Join in. Be fit." led by Prof. Dr. Karsten Müssig seeks to make children in Düsseldorf primary schools more aware of the benefits of healthy nutrition and more exercise. In the “aid” nutrition pilot license program, the children learn how to handle food and kitchen equipment 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 Prof. Dr. Kerstin Ketelhut. 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
Training Sessions         
Dr. Dorothee Mechau, April 12, 2016, 10:15 - 11:45 am
Gemeinschaftsgrundschule Max-Halbe-Straße, Max-Halbe-Straße 14, 40470 Düsseldorf
Miriam, Frenken, April 20, 2016, 12:00 - 13:30 pm
Matthias-Claudius-Schule, Bongardstraße 9, 40479 Düsseldorf
Robby Gerhardt April 27, 2016 8:00 - 9:30 am
St. Michael-Schule, Kempgensweg 65, 40231 Düsseldorf
More information about the initiative can be found at: (German only)