Food allergies increase childhood bullying

Up to 8% of children have food allergies. Managing food allergies requires ongoing vigilance in avoiding the specific foods. This affects children not only at home, but also at school leading to anxiety, social isolation, and even bullying. Lifestyle and vulnerability might predispose these kids to being victims of bullies.

A study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that children with food allergies were more likely to be victims of peer aggression including being threatened with food.

Key findings include:

  • 36% of parents who participated in the study reported that their child had been a victim of bullying and 25% felt the bullying was specifically due to the child’s food allergy.

  • 46% of children who participated in the study reported they were a victim of bullying and 32% felt their food allergy was the cause of bullying.

  • Bullying in children with food allergies leads to lower quality of life and adds stress for those children and their parents.

Bullying goes unnoticed by parents in about 50% of cases. When parents are aware of bullying, social and emotional functioning, (quality of life) for children improves.

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