Children with food allergies are frequently bullied by classmates but experience less psychological distress when their parents are aware of it, according to researchers at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, who surveyed 251 families during their visits to Mount Sinai’s Jaffe Food Allergy Institute in 2011.
The study—published online in the December 24, 2012, issue of Pediatrics—found that as many as 45.4 percent of the children, ages 8-17, reported being bullied, and 31.5 percent reported that food allergy was the reason.
“Parents and clinicians need to ask children with food allergies if they have been bullied,” says the study’s lead author Eyal Shemesh, MD, Chief of the Division of Behavioral and Developmental Health in the Department of Pediatrics at The Mount Sinai Medical Center. “Bullying is prevalent. Kids often don’t tell their parents, and it is important to know this is an issue.”