Navigation Links
Nearly One-Third of Kids With Food Allergies May Be Bullied
Date:12/24/2012

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Dec. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Many children with food allergies may be bullied at school -- sometimes with potentially dangerous threats to their physical health, a new study suggests.

The study, of 251 families at a New York City allergy clinic, found that about one-third of kids said they'd been bullied specifically because of their food allergy.

The bullying usually happened at school and often took the form of teasing. But in many cases, the children said classmates threatened them with the food to which they were allergic -- waving it in front of them, throwing it at them or saying they would sneak it into their other food.

"With food allergies, that kind of bullying does carry a theoretical physical risk," said Dr. Jay Lieberman, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, in Memphis, who was not involved in the study.

Food allergy symptoms can range from hives, swollen lips and stomach pain to potentially life-threatening reactions where children can't breathe and their blood pressure plummets.

In the United States, an estimated 4 percent to 5 percent of kids younger than 18 have a food allergy, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. A handful of foods, including peanuts, cow's milk, eggs and fish, account for most.

Because parents of food-allergic kids are usually vigilant about avoiding the culprit foods, severe allergic reactions are fortunately rare, said Dr. Eyal Shemesh, the lead researcher on the new study.

"What really affects these children's lives is everything that surrounds the allergy -- the food avoidance, the anxiety," said Shemesh, an associate professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City.

And bullying, apparently, can be part of the "everything" that surrounds kids' food allergies. Children could get stigmatized at school, experts say, when classmates have to, for example, avoid bringing peanuts and peanut butter to school.

Peanuts, even in small amounts, can cause a serious allergic reaction. And simple skin contact with a peanut product can trigger a rash.

Both Shemesh and Lieberman said it's important for parents, schools and doctors to be aware that food allergies can make kids a target for bullying.

The study, reported online Dec. 24 and in the January 2013 print issue of Pediatrics, included families at one New York City clinic -- most of whom were white and upper income. So the bullying rate may not be representative of all kids with food allergies, Shemesh said.

But the results back up a 2010 study that Lieberman worked on. In that one, a similar percentage of kids -- 35 percent -- said they'd been bullied because of their food allergy, with most saying it happened more than once.

This new study, Lieberman said, went a step further by asking kids about their quality of life -- including their emotional well-being and how they were getting along at school. It turned out that children who were bullied reported a lower quality of life than their food-allergic peers who were not targeted.

On the other hand, among kids who were bullied, those who'd told their parents reported a better quality of life.

It's not clear why that was. "I don't know if the parents did something about the bullying," Shemesh said. "I just know they knew about it."

It is always possible that parents called the school or otherwise helped their child. Or, Lieberman said, some kids may have just felt better after talking with their parents.

Whatever the reason, Shemesh suggested that parents ask their children if other kids have ever bothered them about their food allergy.

At the same time, he said, "I don't want to be alarmist. And we are not trying to say that the bullies are 'villains.'"

It may be that kids doing the bullying do not understand how serious food allergies are, Shemesh noted. So it's possible that if they get more education on it, that will put an end to the bullying in some cases.

Education about food allergies -- for kids and adults -- could help, agreed Dr. Mark Schuster, chief of general pediatrics at Boston Children's Hospital.

Parents of classmates, he noted, may unwittingly encourage bullying if they complain because they can't send their child to school with grandma's famous peanut butter cookies.

"When it comes to food allergy, people often roll their eyes," Schuster said. "They think that kids are just trying to avoid a food they don't like. And they may not understand that food allergies can be serious."

Schuster also suggested that parents of kids with food allergies be aware of the possible "clues" that their child is being bullied -- such as not wanting to go to school, appearing down, and complaining of chronic stomachaches or headaches.

More information

Learn more about food allergies from the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.

SOURCES: Eyal Shemesh, M.D., associate professor, pediatrics, psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City; Jay Lieberman, M.D., assistant professor, pediatrics, University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.; Mark A. Schuster, M.D., Ph.D., chief, general pediatrics, Boston Children's Hospital, and professor, pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Dec. 24, 2012, Pediatrics, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Mount Sinai survey shows that nearly 1 in 3 children with food allergies experience bullying
2. Nearly 50 Million Couples Worldwide Report Infertility
3. Consumers benefitted nearly $1.5 billion from the ACAs medical loss ratio rule in 2011
4. Predrinking Nearly Doubles Booze Consumption: Study
5. Nearly half of kidney recipients in live donor transplant chains are minorities
6. Nearly $50 million in research funding awarded by NSF
7. Pain Reported by Nearly Half With Type 2 Diabetes
8. Clemson researcher awarded nearly $245,000 to study automation trust and dependence
9. GW School of Nursing receives nearly $1 million grant to diversify nursing workforce
10. Scripps Florida scientists awarded nearly $1.5 million to develop new approaches to treat cancer
11. Einstein receives nearly $5 million to study how Ebola causes infection
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Nearly One-Third of Kids With Food Allergies May Be Bullied
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... , ... The president released a FY 2017 budget request on Tuesday that ... the cost burden to military beneficiaries. , MOAA’s president, retired Air Force Lt. ... including limited quantifiable benefit fixes mixed with numerous beneficiary fee hikes. , “We were ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The Chartis Group, a national advisory services ... the “2015/2016 Best in KLAS: Software and Services” report in two categories: IT ... insights firm on a global mission to improve healthcare delivery by amplifying the ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... to reverse diabetes has been gearing up for their simultaneous grand openings in ... It’s about right now that you’re probably wondering, is reversing diabetes possible? According ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... advocates will discuss how to improve care by making data on heart procedures ... disease. The Summit on Transparency and Public Reporting of Pediatric and Congenital Heart ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... Thermi™, a world leader ... to announce the promotions of Allison Kelly to executive vice president of the ... vice president of North American capital sales, and Wendy Oseas to vice president ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016 Potrero Medical, Inc., ... pleased to announce the appointment of George M. Rapier, ... San Antonio, TX , WellMed is one of ... 200,000 patients and HMO members in Texas ... in 1990 out of his own internal medicine practice, he ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  NOIT™ Research LLC, a ... "Gift of Change" campaign to assist needy families in ... such unit sold between February 10, 2016 and March ... a needy family. The NOIT is an auditory stimulus ... individuals develop language skills. Beth Shier ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  MiMedx Group, Inc. ... utilizing human amniotic membrane and other birth tissues, human ... to develop and market advanced products and therapies, announced ... Markets, 2016 Global Healthcare Conference in New ... and CEO, Michael J. Senken , Chief Financial ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: