By James Paladino ( | First Posted: Dec 25, 2012 08:01 PM EST

Movie posters are seen for the documentary film "Bully" during its Los Angeles premiere in Hollywood (Photo : Reuters)

While the rise of social media has enabled cyber-bullying and changed the way in which children interact with one another, the factors that incite verbal and physical harassment remain constant, according to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Researchers suggest that those with food allergies are targeted on par with others who suffer from disabilities or weight issues, a statistic which afflicts between one in ten and three in ten kids and teens. Dr. Mark Shuster of Boston Children's Hospital tells Reuters, "Parents whose kids have a food allergy should really be aware their kids have the kind of characteristic that often leads to being bullied. They should be working with the school to handle the food allergy in a way that isn't going to make it more likely that their kids will be bullied - and they need to be attuned to their kids."

Shuster notes that we are approaching a greater social understanding of the bullying epidemic.

"There has been a shift and people are more and more recognizing that bullying has real consequences, it's not just something to be making jokes about," he says.

Dr. Eyal Shemesh of Mount Sinai Medical Center adds, "What really affects these children's live sis everything that surrounds the allergy -- the food avoidance, the anxiety."

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