You are here

EMBARGOED RELEASE: Nov. 13, 2020

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill (November 13, 2020) – Parents of children with food allergies find their children are often bullied by classmates, as well as parents of other children and teachers. A new study being presented at this year’s virtual American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting shows that nearly one in five parents of food-allergic kids are the target of bullying by a multitude of sources.

“We know children are often bullied about their food allergies,” says Dannielle Brown, MHS, lead author of the study. “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% said they had been bullied.”

Parents of children 4-17 years (school-age children) in the survey found it was helpful to take action to stop the bullying. 13% of parents/guardians spoke with their child, 7% spoke with the offender or the offender’s parent, 17% spoke with a teacher and 15% spoke with a principal or administrator. Almost 50% 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.

“No child or their parent should be bullied because of their food allergies,” says food allergy researcher Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, ACAAI member and one of the lead researchers on the study. “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.”

Presentation Title: Food Allergy-Related Bullying and School Policy Among Black and White Children in the FORWARD Study
Presenter: Dannielle Brown, MHS

For more information about food allergies, or to find an allergist in your area, visit AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org. The ACAAI Virtual Annual Meeting is Nov. 13-15. For more news and research from the ACAAI Scientific Meeting, go to our newsroom, and follow the conversation on Twitter #ACAAI20.

About ACAAI

The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes. For more information and to find relief, visit AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org. Join us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.