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By Imogen Watson, Senior reporter

January 2, 2019 | 3 min read

In a bid to cut children's sugar consumption, Public Health England (PHE) has launched a Change4Life campaign that encourages parents to 'make a swap' when buying something sweet for their kids.

According to PHE, children have already exceeded the maximum recommended sugar intake for an 18-year-old by the time they reach their tenth birthday. This startling research is based on a child's total sugar consumption from the age of two.

PHE has spent £2.4m on a campaign aimed at families with children aged 5 to 11 years old.

It encourages parents to “make a swap when you next shop”, highlighting the surprising amount of sugar in everyday foods and drinks, and shows how simple like-for-like swaps can halve the amount of sugar children are getting from these products.

To accompany the initiative, PHE got Aardman on board to create an animation that shows the health harms associated with consuming too much sugar.

The animation, titled 'Sugar Cube Invaders', opens with a lone sugar cube. Over the top, a kids voice questions: "Just one little sugar cube, surely this can't really hurt?"

The innocent cube then multiplies into eight evil sugar invaders, to demonstrate how kids are statistically eating twice the amount of sugar as they should - which equates eight excess sugar cubes each day.

Using the sugar cubes as counters, the animation illustrates how that is the equivalent to around 2,800 excess sugar cubes per year.

The film then draws attention to the scale and severity of the health harms associated with eating too much sugar, highlighting that more young people than ever are developing Type 2 diabetes.

Sheila Mitchell, director of marketing at Public Health England, said: “By offering simple and trusted advice, Change4Life has helped millions of families to lead healthier lives for more than a decade.

“This, combined with innovative technology and bold content, has helped to drive meaningful behaviour change while establishing Change4Life as the government’s flagship health brand.”

Heather Wright, executive director partner content at Aardman commented: “We’re proud to have been animating these beloved characters for Change4Life over the past ten years as part of important campaigns which families trust, and who then make healthier choices as a result.

"This year, for the first time, we meet the nasty Sugar Cube Invaders who bring to life the harms of having too much sugar. Characterising the sugar cubes in this way gives people a memorable visual metaphor which we hope will inspire people to change their behaviour and make a swap next time they shop.”

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