It’s bad enough that they have to avoid milk and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. A new study reveals that kids with allergies also get picked on at lunch.
About 8 percent of children in the United States have food allergies—to peanuts, shellfish, eggs, etc.-and a study from researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found that about a third of those children are bullied. Their study appeared online December 24 in the journal Pediatrics.
The researchers surveyed 251 pairs of parents and children on visits to allergy clinics and had them fill out a questionnaire about incidents of bullying and overall quality of life. Sadly—but maybe predictably—the kids with allergies were getting bullied quite a bit. What’s more surprising is that about half of the parents surveyed didn’t know the bullying was happening, even when both they and their kids reported higher stress and lower quality of life.
The researchers suggest asking your food-allergic child if they’re being bullied. Like allergies themselves, knowing the problem is the first step to avoiding it.