A report from Mintel found that 33 per cent of parents are relaxed about what their children choose to eat. Three-quarters said they try to ensure their children eat a healthy diet, but only 42 per cent actively avoid giving their kids fatty foods.
The findings show that although there is awareness of the health effects of children's diets, it has not yet translated into a significant change in buying habits.
Mintel senior market analyst Maria Elustondo said: 'Over the past few months there has been considerable media coverage about the problems of child obesity. Although messages about the importance of leading a healthy life seem to be getting through, too many parents are still unsure about how to put a healthy diet into practice.'
According to the study, children themselves are also aware of the importance of a healthy diet and the majority regularly eat healthy foods, such as fruit and vegetables. However, they also indulge in eating fatty snacks between meals. Crisps are the firm favourite, followed by chocolate.
Girls are more aware of the importance of eating healthy foods than boys, the report found, and more inclined to control their intake of fatty foods.