Children’s menus at some of the UK’s leading restaurant and pub chains are still dominated by super-sized calorific puddings and unlimited refills of unhealthy sugary drinks – undermining efforts to tackle the obesity crisis, according to a new report.

The Soil Association’s Out To Lunch league table found that a number of chains are still failing to serve fresh food or healthy choices, with one pudding at a Hungry Horse restaurant found to contain more than 400% of a child’s recommended daily sugar allowance.

The most calorific pudding on the league table of the UK’s 25 most popular chain restaurants is Harvester’s Chocolate Cookie Pizza, a cookie topped with chocolate sauce, marshmallows, strawberries, butterscotch sauce and chocolate buttons containing 721kcal - almost 50% of a seven-year-old’s daily requirement.

Secret diners also reported that free refills of sugary drinks continue to be available to children at Frankie & Benny’s and Nando’s, and some chains including Carluccio’s and Zizzi charge extra for a portion of vegetables with some children’s main meals.

Jamie’s Italian topped the table for children’s meals, Wetherspoons and Beefeater scored in the top five, while Prezzo and Nando’s fell into the bottom five and Burger King came last.

Rob Percival from the Soil Association said: “Many restaurants are now prioritising child health and investing in healthier and more creative meal options. “But there is still a national scandal unfolding in plain sight. Three quarters of UK parents say they are worried by the portion size of children’s puddings when they eat out. “We found that renegade chains are ignoring parent concerns by dishing up super-sized calorific junk, undermining national efforts to tackle childhood obesity.”

This year Out To Lunch and TV chef and campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall challenged chains to take action to offer puddings and drinks in a healthier portion size and to include calorie information on the menu.

In response, Pizza Hut and TGI Fridays have committed to discontinuing free refills of sugary drinks throughout their restaurants by March 2018 and include calorie information on the children’s menu. Harvester, Cafe Rouge and TGI Fridays have committed to offering puddings in a healthier portion size by March 2018.

The campaign is calling on all high street restaurants, pubs and cafes to serve two portions of vegetables with every child’s meal, ensure children’s puddings are an appropriate portion size and make water freely available and stop promoting sugary drinks to children.

Jamie Oliver said: “This is the third time we’ve topped the league table with our children’s menu at Jamie’s Italian – and I’m absolutely chuffed. The Out to Lunch award means a lot to us, because we put so much effort into making our kids’ food balanced and delicious. All our meals for children contain at least two of their five-a-day, and nothing artificial. Plus we have unlimited fruity water as an alternative to sugary drinks. We know our children’s menu is working – kids love it, parents love it, we love it, and it’s fantastic that the Soil Association has recognised this with three consecutive Out to Lunch awards. Thank you!”

Jameson Robinson, Wetherspoon’s head of Food, said: “We are delighted to be listed second in the Out to Lunch league table and to be the highest ranked pub company. We are serving more and more children’s meals each year and are committed to serving healthy and tasty meals which are enjoyed by the children and welcomed by adults too. The provenance and quality of the food we offer is of the utmost importance to us.”