Food allergy incidences are increasing in Australia, with most recent reports putting the figure at one in 12 children.
Recent evidence suggests that children with food allergies also experience an increased occurrence of bullying compared to other school-aged children. Some children reported being bullied because of their allergies and others were taunted, for example, by being touched with the food they were allergic to, or had their food contaminated with an allergen.
UNSW undergraduate medical student Andrew T Fong reviewed the current literature on bullying in populations of children and adolescents with food allergies.
No research has been done on bullying of children and adolescents with food allergies in Australia, but instances were found in North America, Canada, Italy and Japan. But in studies elsewhere, more than 30 percent of children and adolescents reported being bullied solely because of their food allergy.
The review article was published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.