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When Bullying affects children eating habits and lifestyle

In Canada, 47% of parents have reported that their child has been a victim of bullying. One in three adolescent student also reported being bullied.  Statistics have shown that Canada has the 9th highest bullying rate among 13 years old on 35 nations (1). In brief, bullying can have a negative impact on children’s lifestyle, especially when it comes to food and nutrition.

There are many factors making a child victim of bullying such as homophobia, racism, age and gender. Bullying also affects children having food allergies or intolerance. In fact, 15 million of Americans are affected by food allergies making it roughly 2 in every classroom (2). Unfortunately, a child suffering from food allergies and being also victim of bullying may feel pressure to consume an allergen food which in turn can cause an anaphylaxis reaction. As some may know, anaphylaxis reaction can be fatal and even causing death if alternative treatment like epinephrine are not administrated in appropriate timing. Unfortunately, half of the children do not report being bullied. In general, most parents and their children being bullied feel distressed and experience a less better quality of life.

In addition, children being overweight or obese often become victims of bullying. In fact, children feel judged verbally, physically and emotionally due to their size. In consequence, some may prefer eating alone or even develop random eating patterns which can lead to some eating disorders including suicidal thoughts at very young age. As you may notice, it may be overwhelming not only for the child overall lifestyle, but for families as well.

As bullying affects children self esteem, health and psychological status, it is very important to know and understand their personal and community background to establish a better and reasonable nutritional plan to overcome adverse outcomes of bullying. If you are a parent with a child being a victim of bullying, or experience bullying yourself causing eating patterns, do not hesitate to contact your SNC dietitian to discuss your situation for appropriate copying mechanisms regarding food, nutrition and better lifestyle. -SNC-




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