The author of a report on poor nutritional quality of children's meals in restaurants says two thirds of them contain too much fat, salt and killer calories.

The research was carried out by a team of researchers at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and the University of Roehampton (UK).

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Dr Tara Coppinger said that the researchers looked at children's menus from 20 popular chain restaurants and analysed more than 39,000 meal combinations.

"We found two thirds of them exceeded those recommendations for both fast food restaurants and your sit-down traditional waitress meals," she said.

Dr Coppinger said people tended to consume more at sit-down restaurants rather than fast food restaurants.

She stressed it was necessary to examine why restaurants are not offering a healthy option to families.

"We know that Ireland has an obesity problem and despite efforts to promote active lifestyles, four out of five children do not get enough physical exercise to negate these extra calories," she pointed out.

"We need to find what the barriers are to these restaurants and why they aren't giving the healthy option as the easy option," she concluded.