Food Bullying

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Story Updated: Sep 17, 2012

There's a frightening new form of bulling that researchers are sounding the alarm about.

Children with food allergies are being targeted by kids who harass them sometimes by trying to expose them to the foods they're allergic to.

That's the dangerous truth, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

3-hundred-53 participants filled out questionnaires designed to see how prevalent this type of bullying is. The group included children with food allergies, their parents or caregivers.

The results showed that nearly 25% of the food-allergic children had been victims of bullying, teasing or harassment because of their condition. When researchers included only school-aged kids that number jumped to more than 35%.

Other interesting findings: More than 80 percent of the incidents happened at school. The behavior ranged from teasing...to physical events such as being touched by the allergen or having it waved in their face.

The attacks resulted in feelings of sadness and depression, as well as embarrassment, according to the study.

Researchers say while no allergic reactions were reported as a result of the bullying, the potential risk is evident.

Food allergies ranging from peanuts to milk.. can cause life-threatening anaphylaxis...a severe allergic reaction.

Parents should make sure their child's school and teachers are aware of any food allergy, have the proper medications available, and keep an eye out for any signs of bullying.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with the news doctors are reading, health news that matters to you.