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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Daily Dose

Health-related bullying of kids: what parents can do

Any children who stand apart from their peers for whatever reason — they look, speak, or dress a little differently — have a greater likelihood of being bullied, and now it turns out that even common health problems like food allergies can set children up to be victimized.

Of course, bullies need no reason at all to pick on a weaker child, but a study published last week in the journal Pediatrics finds that the prevalence is particularly high in children who have food allergies and that nearly a third of them are teased and taunted for their allergies, sometimes having offending foods thrown at them. Allergists at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City conducted surveys of more than 250 families and found that parents frequently didn’t know that their child was suffering such targeted victimization.

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