Up to 8
percent of children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with food allergies. The
study, “Child and Parental Reports of Bullying in a Consecutive Sample of Children With Food Allergy,” in the January 2013 issue of Pediatrics (published
online Dec. 24, 2012) examined whether those children are at increased risk for
bullying. Researchers surveyed 251 parent and child pairs to see if they have
experienced bullying related to their food allergies. The results show that 31.5
percent of these children report being bullied, and threats frequently involved
food. Children who report being bullied, and their parents, had higher stress
levels and lower quality of life. Of those surveyed, approximately half the
parents reported being aware of bullying. Children whose parents were aware of
the bullying had less stress and a higher quality of life than those whose
parents were unaware. The authors emphasize it is important that parents and
pediatricians screen for bullying in children with food allergies to reduce
stress and improve quality of life for these children.
Editors note: The January issue of
Pediatrics also features the article, “Weight-Based Victimization: Bullying
Experiences of Weight-Loss Treatment-Seeking Youth” and the commentary, “Did the
Ugly Duckling Have PTSD? Bullying, Its Effects, and the Role of Pediatricians.”
Both of these articles will be published online Dec.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an
organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical
subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health,
safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For
more information, visit www.aap.org.