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10% of U.S. Adults Physically Limited by Arthritis

Experts say obesity epidemic has widened the pool of disabled

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The hand and the knee are the joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis, White said.

"Just a little weight reduction and physical activity decreases osteoarthritis of the knee and takes away your pain," she said. "It's amazing what just a little bit can do to stem the tide."

White noted that many people with knee arthritis will end up getting a knee replacement. "But that's not the answer," she said. "If you are obese, the outcome of a knee replacement is much worse."

According to Consumer Reports, a knee replacement can cost anywhere from $17,800 to $42,750, depending on where in the United States it's done. Most insurance, including Medicare, covers the procedure, but there are additional costs involved in recovery and rehabilitation.

"If you have a little bit of knee pain, you need to get active now, because you really can prevent this," White said.

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