This is not an Onion article, but it's so depressingly hilarious that you'd think it might be.
The article starts with a statistic: in the Dallas Heart study, of the 2056 "obese" people surveyed, 8% "said they were satisfied with their body size or felt they could gain weight."
Well, it's really a shame that only 8% of "obese" people are satisfied with their body size, but I guess that figure is not surprising. Maybe the article will go on to suggest ways we can help fat people to overcome their feelings of inadequacy in a culture that places such intense pressure on people to conform to an arbitrary and very small body norm? Oh... wait... I'm being told that wasn't the point of the article. No, it turns out that the "story" here, according to Tiffany Powell MD, is that those 8% are suffering from a "misperception" and "don't understand they are overweight," and so doctors need to hassle them about it more to get it through their fat skulls that they need to lose weight. Yes, Tiffany, I'm sure that's it: "obese" people are so stupid that they just "don't understand" that they're fat.
Of course, every article about "obesity" has to contain at least one gigantic and utterly unfounded leap of logic, and here it is: "Those with a misperception of body size believed they were healthy. But 35 percent of them had high blood pressure, 15 percent had high cholesterol, 14 percent had diabetes and 27 percent were current smokers. These risk factors are similar to obese individuals who acknowledged they had a weight problem and needed to lose weight, Powell said."
So did they also ask people if they "believed they were healthy," and it turned out that the exact same fat people who were satisfied with their bodies were the ones who said they believed they were healthy? Gee, that would be an interesting finding... but I have a sneaking suspicion that the author of this article is simply asserting that if a person said they were satisfied with their body size then that means they think they are healthy. Earth to mind-bogglingly stupid author of article: those two things are not the same at all. Maybe you should go back to reporting school. Or, like, preschool.
Another teeny problem is the inclusion of smoking as a risk factor that is supposed to have something to do with being "obese". Here's the logic as far as I can see: this person doesn't think she needs to lose weight, and therefore I will assume she thinks she is healthy even though she didn't say that. But really, this person is not healthy, which we know from the fact that she is a smoker. Therefore she needs to lose weight. And therefore she is an idiot for not knowing that she needs to lose weight, because all she needed to do was think about the fact that she is a smoker and therefore obviously unhealthy, and that there could only be one solution to this problem: lose weight!
So, OK, let's just set aside the smoking category (we'll assume the author was smoking something him/herself when he/she decided to include smoking) and look at those other "risk factors". Even if we simply add up all the percentages, we come to 77% of the "obese" people who thought they didn't need to lose weight as having some kind of health problem. Which means that at the very minimum, 23% of the "obese" people who supposedly thought they were "healthy" were absolutely right according to the health measures mentioned in the article! And let us remember that there is likely to be significant overlap between the people who had high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and possibly diabetes too. So possibly up to 65% of the stupid fatties in this study who think they're healthy are totally right.
But hey, let's not get bogged down with the facts -- or even the version of "facts" reported in the article. Let's just continue to assume that all fat people are unhealthy and that our goal should be to make sure that 100% of fat people (not a measly 92%) are fully aware that they are fat and therefore unhealthy and that they have to lose weight. Even if we grant all that, there are some other really questionable conclusions here. For example, "Those who misperceived their body size were less likely to go to a physician. In fact, 44 percent didn't visit a physician during the past year, compared to 26 percent of obese participants who correctly perceived they needed to lose weight." The idea is apparently that it's bad if you don't think you need to lose weight because then you won't go to the doctor. But I have some other ideas that would explain these correlations. How about this: if you are unhealthy you are more likely than a healthy person to go to the doctor. And if you are fat and unhealthy, given all the messages you hear about fat being unhealthy, you are probably somewhat likely to blame your poor health on being fat, and therefore to think that you need to lose weight. Even if not, if you are fat and unhealthy you are likely to be told by your doctor that you need to lose weight. So there, I've just explained the correlation, and notice how my explanation doesn't rely on the idea that a fat person who is stupid enough to be satisfied with his/her body is also too stupid to go to a doctor. Or here's another, more depressing possibility: people who are fat but don't think they need to lose weight avoid going to the doctor even when they get sick because the doctor is likely to tell them that they need to lose weight rather than actually bothering to diagnose their real health problem.
My friend who sent me the link pointed out a similarity between this and our cultural attitude towards "depression": if you're a sensitive, introspective person who feels saddened by the state of the world, rather than being able to glibly go through life thinking everything is hunky dory the way that most people apparently do without getting bummed out by things like war and global warming, then clearly you are the pathological one and you must have a medical problem that needs to be treated in order to bring your worldview into alignment with everyone else's.