Today I’m (belatedly) sharing two items of interest from the Washington Post:
Using Allergens to Bully Kids
First, the WashPo recently reported on a very disturbing – but apparently not uncommon – phenomenon: kids intentionally exposing their food-allergic peers to potentially deadly allergens as a form of bullying.
Examples cited in the story include a college student having his face smeared with peanut butter during fraternity hazing, and a fifth grader having peanuts hidden in his lunch by school bullies. According to the report, a 2013 survey found that “31 percent of children reported being bullied or harassed specifically because of food allergies.”
If you’re the parent of a food-allergic child who’s been subjected to allergen-related bullying, please feel free to share your family’s experiences in a comment below.
Kids and Energy Drinks: A Dangerous Mix
The WashPo also recently ran an opinion piece by Pat Crawford, senior director of research at the University of California’s Nutrition Policy Institute, and her colleague, Wendi Gosliner, decrying the lack of federal regulation of high-caffeine energy drinks.
According to the authors, “energy drinks are widely marketed to adolescents, putting them at risk of extreme caffeine overload with potentially devastating cardiovascular and neurological consequences. From 2005 to 2011, energy drink-related emergency-room visits rose from 1,494 to 20,783. This included high rates of unintentional exposure in children younger than 6.” (See also my 2014 Lunch Tray post, “Energy Drink Ads Reach Young Kids, Even as Evidence of Dangers Mount“)
The piece describes current efforts in Congress to prevent manufacturers from marketing energy drinks directly to kids, but in the meantime, talk to your own kids – especially teens – about the real risks these beverages pose.
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