BOSTON – A consumer group is urging administrators at 22 hospitals to remove McDonald’s restaurants from hospital premises.

Corporate Accountability International said 22 hospitals currently have McDonald’s restaurants, including the Cleveland Clinic and Children’s Memorial Hospital of Chicago. The group claims McDonald’s has placed its restaurants in hospitals in order to boost the perception of the healthfulness of the company’s food.

“Kids are being treated for diet-related conditions like diabetes on one floor in the hospital and given the wrong message by being offered the world’s most recognized junk food brand on another floor in the hospital,” said Dr. Francine Kaufman, former president of the American Diabetes Association and professor emeritus of pediatrics and communications at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, one of the hospitals with a McDonald’s. “The practice earns McDonald’s an undeserved association with healthfulness among parents and children alike…and it should be curtailed.”

In a statement to Nation’s Restaurant News, Danya Proud, a spokeswoman for McDonald’s USA, said that the company has 26 locations in hospitals across the US that offer a wide variety of menu choices that are within guidelines for healthful eating.

“McDonald’s promotes the idea that it’s not about where you eat; rather, it’s about what and how much a person chooses to consume during every eating occasion,” she said. “We’re proud of our menu and the actions we have taken to evolve the variety of choices we offer our customers, which have led our industry.”

Some hospitals have removed McDonald’s stores, according to the group. In 2009, Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas replaced a McDonald’s after 20 years with a smaller chain. Also, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Vanderbilt Medical Center have also ended contracts with McDonald’s in recent years, according to the group.