A survey of parents indicates that UK toddlers are being fed a “horrifying” diet with far too much junk food.

The survey of 2000 parents, carried out by Mother and Baby magazine and Cow & Gate, revealed that children’s favourite foods included potato crisps and chocolate. Some 90% of toddlers are allowed to eat junk food on occasion, and 80% of parents conceded that their children had less healthy diets than they themselves had had at that age.

Despite the general perception that toddlers eat what they are fed and do not make their own food choices, few parents felt they were to blame for their toddlers’ inadequate diets, reported BBC News. Over half of children do not eat the recommended portions of fruit and vegetables each day.

The editor of Mother and Baby magazine, Karen Pasquali Jones, raised concerns about the fact that more toddlers are eating outside of family mealtimes, often in front of the TV. She commented: “Toddlers need the experience of sitting up at the table – it not only encourages them to eat properly, it improves their speech and social skills and encourages them to try new foods.”