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Nearly One-Third of Children With Food Allergies Experience Bullying

12/24/2012 For Release: December 24, 2012

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. 24.


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

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