Bullying

Food Allergies & Bullying

Does your child have a food allergy?  If so, he or she could be a target of bullies at school.

According to a new study reported by Medical News Today, food allergies can pre-dispose children to being bullied at school,

Researchers looked at 251 families from a New York City food allergy clinic.  They found that nearly a third of the kids have been bullied because of their food allergy.

Most of the kids said that their classmates had threatened them with the food to which they were allergic. They would wave it in front of them, throw it at them or tell them that they would sneak it into their food when they weren’t looking.

As you might expect, the study showed that bullying is associated with reduced quality of life as well as increased stress for the children and their parents.  Parents were aware of the bullying only about half of the time.  When they knew about it, the children’s quality of life improved.

The research team says that pediatricians and parents should screen for bullying in children with food allergies.

By the way, a separate study found that food allergies are associated with anxiety and loneliness in children. In fact, one out of five allergic children don’t attend classmates’ parties.  One in four of these kids say they always bring “safe food” with them.

To learn more about the new study and how you can help your child, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics’ website at aap.org.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

 
 for the audio version of this article.

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