Kids who have food allergies or are overweight may be especially likely to get bullied by their peers, two new studies suggest.
Bullying has become a concern among parents, doctors and school administrators since research and news stories emerged linking bullying with depression and even suicide.
Studies suggest between one in ten and one in three of all kids and teens are bullied — but those figures may vary by location and demographics, researchers noted.
Dr. Eyal Shemesh from the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and his colleagues surveyed 251 kids who were seen at an allergy clinic and their parents. The children were all between age eight and 17 with a diagnosed food allergy.
Just over 45 percent of them said they’d been bullied or harassed for any reason, and 32 percent reported being bullied because of their allergy in particular.
In another study, researchers from Yale University found that almost two-thirds of 361 teens enrolled in weight-loss camps had been bullied due to their size.
That likelihood increased with weight, so that the heaviest kids had almost a 100 percent chance of being bullied. Verbal teasing was the most common form of bullying, but more than half of bullied kids reported getting taunted online or through texts and emails as well.