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Children with Food Allergies Often Bullied by Classmates and Their Parents, Finds New Study

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

The new study being presented at this year's virtual American College of Allergy shows that nearly one in five parents of food-allergic kids are the target of bullying by a multitude of sources.

Parents of children with food allergies find their children are often bullied by classmates, as well as parents of other children and teachers, say researchers, including one of Indian-origin.

The new study being presented at this year's virtual American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting shown that nearly one in five parents of food-allergic kids are the target of bullying by a multitude of sources.

"No child or their parent should be bullied because of their food allergies," said study author Ruchi Gupta, ACAAI member.

According to the researchers, children are often bullied about their food allergies.

"What we weren't aware of was how many parents are bullied by multiple sources. Of the 252 parents or guardians we surveyed, more than 17 per cent said they had been bullied," said study lead author Dannielle Brown.

Parents of children 4-17 years (school-age children) in the survey found it was helpful to take action to stop the bullying.

According to the study, 13 per cent of parents/guardians spoke with their child, seven per cent spoke with the offender or the offender's parent, 17 pe cent spoke with a teacher and 15 per cent spoke with a principal or administrator.

Almost 50 per cent of those who did something to stop food allergy bullying said it was helpful.

Another important finding in the survey was that while there were no significant differences in the percentages of 'Black' and white children who were bullied around food allergies, Black children experienced non-food allergy-related bullying twice as frequently.

"And it's of course equally important that Black children with food allergies not be bullied for additional reasons. Having a food allergy puts tremendous stress on the entire family and any form of bullying makes life that much harder," Gupta noted.


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