Survey shows that nearly 1 in 3 children with food allergies experience bullying

December 24, 2012

Nearly a third of children diagnosed with food allergies who participated in a recent study are bullied, according to researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Almost eight percent of children in the U.S. are allergic to foods such as peanuts, tree-nuts, milk, eggs, and shellfish.

Nearly half of parents surveyed (47.9 percent) were not aware of the bullying—although both the bullied and their parents reported experiencing higher and lower quality of life.

The study, titled, "Child and Parental Reports of Bullying in a Consecutive Sample of Children with ," appears in the online issue of Pediatrics on December 24. The study was led by Eyal Shemesh, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Shemesh and his team surveyed 251 pairs of parents and children. The patient and parent pairs were consecutively recruited during allergy clinic visits to independently answer questionnaires. Bullying due to food allergy or for any cause, quality of life, and distress in both the child and parent were evaluated using validated .

"Parents and pediatricians should routinely ask children with food allergy about bullying," said Dr. Shemesh. "Finding out about the child's experience might allow targeted interventions, and would be expected to reduce additional stress and improve quality of life for these children trying to manage their food allergies." Dr. Shemesh is Director of EMPOWER (Enhancing, Managing, and Promoting Well-being and ), a program within Mount Sinai's Jaffe Food Allergy Institute. Dr. Shemesh is also Chief of the Division of Behavioral and Developmental Health in the Department of Pediatrics at The Mount Sinai Medical Center.

"When parents are aware of the bullying, the child's quality of life is better," said the senior author, Scott H. Sicherer, MD, Professor of , Chief, Division of Pediatric Allergy, Co-Director, EMPOWER program. "Our results should raise awareness for parents, school personnel, and physicians to proactively identify and address bullying in this population."

The work for the study was supported by the EMPOWER program, a program funded by a generous donation from the Jaffe Family Foundation, that is devoted to understanding and enhancing the quality of life of persons with food allergy.

Explore further: Foods with baked milk may help build tolerance in children with dairy allergies

Related Stories

Food allergies can make kids targets for bullies

November 2, 2012

(HealthDay)—As the mother of a child with a severe peanut allergy, Nicole Smith was vigilant about reading labels and making sure teachers and school administrators understood that ingesting even a trace amount of peanuts ...

Recommended for you

Youth dance classes score low in physical activity

May 18, 2015

For parents who send their kids to dance classes to get some exercise, a new study from researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine suggests most youth dance classes provide only limited amounts ...

Roller coaster rides trigger pediatric stroke

December 11, 2014

Riding a couple roller coasters at an amusement park appears to have triggered an unusual stroke in a 4-year-old boy, according to a report in the journal Pediatric Neurology.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.