kaléo, along with the four major advocacy organizations focused on life-threatening allergies, today announced a new initiative, No Appetite for Bullying, to raise awareness about the prevalence and potential dangers of food allergy bullying. Food allergy bullying happens when children and teens living with life-threatening food allergies are teased, ridiculed, or even threatened or assaulted with food to which they are severely allergic. This is the first time the Allergy & Asthma Network (the Network), Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT), Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) and Kids with Food Allergies (KFA) are supporting a national anti-bullying campaign.
“Each of our individual organizations have taken strides to end food allergy bullying,” said Eleanor Garrow-Holding, President & CEO, FAACT. “But together, we can have a bigger voice and a bigger impact on the issue. I personally have witnessed food allergy bullying as my son was bullied due to his food allergies, and it’s imperative we join together as there needs to be zero tolerance for bullying across the board.”
“Bullying is never okay. It is hurtful, cruel, even dangerous,” said Lynda Mitchell, Founder of KFA. “Unfortunately, children who live with food allergies are susceptible to bullying – not only from their peers, but sometimes even from adults in their lives who don’t understand the gravity of food allergies.”
kaléo commissioned an omnibus survey of 1,000 parents of children currently in elementary through high school, including 750 parents of children without life-threatening allergies (LTAs) and 250 parents of children with LTAs to unearth gaps in knowledge and perceptions that exist around food allergy bullying. According to the survey, 82 percent of parents of children with LTAs that believe children are bullied due to food allergies think that their child has been bullied because of their allergies. However, nearly 80 percent of parents of children without LTAs surveyed indicated that they don’t think food allergies are a reason children are bullied. The survey also found that nearly 9 out of 10 parents that believe children are bullied due to food allergies think that if food allergy bullying happens, kids/classmates are participating in the bullying, followed by athletic coaches (42%), school caretakers (39%), or other parents (34%).
“While programs and resources have become available to address other forms of bullying, they rarely call attention to food allergy bullying, which can potentially be deadly,” said Tonya Winders, President and CEO, the Network. “That’s why we are proud to collaborate with our other advocacy partners and kaléo to help raise awareness of this dangerous form of bullying.”
No Appetite for Bullying is a multi-year anti-food allergy bullying initiative to elevate attention to food allergy bullying with the goal of creating solutions that foster tolerance and understanding. The goal is to clearly convey the potential seriousness of food allergies and create a movement that encourages children with food allergies, along with parents, teachers and peers, to be a voice against food allergy bullying. To ensure that the project is relatable to children and teens, a No Appetite for Bullying Teen Coalition will bring together students between the ages of 13 and 17 to share experiences, provide support, and discuss solutions to help end food allergy bullying. In addition, we are calling for food allergy bullying stories to be shared with us so we can help bring the issue to life.
“In recent years, FARE has led efforts to draw attention to the very real problem of food allergy bullying, and we are pleased to be a part of this new initiative that includes students directly affected by food allergy bullying in the conversation,” said Lois A. Witkop, Chief Advancement Officer at FARE. “Food allergies are nothing to joke about.”
“As a committed member of the LTA community, kaléo hopes to foster a safe and accepting environment for students who live with food allergies,” said Evan Edwards, Vice President – Innovation, Development and Industrialization at kaléo. “This includes elevating awareness of food allergy-related bullying and offering educational resources to help stop it, as well as educating the general public about LTAs.”
To learn more about No Appetite for Bullying, how to apply for the Teen Coalition, and how to share your food allergy bullying story, please visit www.NoAppetiteforBullying.com.