Düsseldorf, 25.05.2020

SMS Initiative: Inspiring Children to Lead an Active Lifestyle

Elementary school students in Düsseldorf are encouraged to lead an active lifestyle within the framework of the SMS initiative "SMS. Be smart. Join in. Be fit.". The active card game "Move with PFIFF" for project schools is also available at Düsseldorf city libraries.

Overweight and obesity are a health problem that not only affects adults. Children and adolescents also sometimes suffer from excessive body weight at a young age. However, health education in the early years of life decisively shapes health-related attitudes and behaviors. Against this background, the initiative "SMS. Be smart. Join in. Be fit.", sponsored by the Düsseldorf Department of Sports, aims to inspire children at an early stage with specific measures for a balanced diet and more exercise.

A survey carried out as part of the SMS initiative among 250 third-graders from Düsseldorf with an increased risk of lifestyle-related illnesses showed that the children in the survey use electronic media such as television, computers, cell phones and the Internet most frequently to inform themselves. But print media such as books and magazines are still popular and used by children.
The results of the survey have now been published in the renowned journal Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology & Diabetes under the title "Associations between migration background and media and information behavior in primary school children".

Target shooting with table tennis ball into a container
Based on the knowledge gained, the SMS initiative developed the active card game "Move with PFIFF" together with the professional table tennis club Borussia Düsseldorf and the Präha Weber School. The exercise cards are aimed at the participating students of the SMS initiative and show them a wide range of exercise games and forms. Each pupil of the St. Rochus School was fortunate to receive a pack of cards before the school closed in the course of containing the corona pandemic. With the gradual opening of schools, further project schools will be provided with the card games. The active card game can also be borrowed from the city libraries during opening hours.

In terms of content, the game suggestions were chosen so that they can be easily implemented with few materials or household items, and the time frame is reasonable. For example when shooting at a target, you need a table tennis racket, a table tennis ball and several containers in different sizes such as wastebasket or bowls. The aim of the game is to shoot the ball into the respective container with the table tennis racket. The exercise cards can be played both in a group and alone in your free time.

"This additional format offers us the opportunity to raise awareness in children of the importance of more exercise in their free time and at home and thus to convey the goals of the SMS initiative. In addition, the results of the study show further possibilities of how the children can be reached outside of school,“ said project manager Professor Karsten Müssig. Burkhard Hintzsche, city director and head of the sports department, emphasized the importance of preventive measures in health promotion for children and added: "With the SMS initiative, children now have a further format at their disposal, in addition to the far-reaching school measures and offers, thus providing a further contribution to promoting a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise.

Background: "SMS. Be smart. Join in. Be fit."
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 SMS initiative is supported by the association Düsseldorfer Kids mit PFIFF e.V. and scientifically accompanied by the German Diabetes Center (DDZ), a partner of the DZD. 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 to promote healthy diets and physical activity, and the GUT DRAUF label of the German Center for Health Education (BZgA) and was accepted as an exemplary project and member of the state initiative "Healthy North Rhine-Westphalia".

For more information, see: www.sms-mach-mit.de


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