The battle against obesity is being brought to Hawke's Bay using psychology and treating the problem as an addiction, rather than fighting it with endless weight-loss programmes.
South Auckland man Buck Stowers has worked in the fitness industry for 25 years. The recent success of his "Big Boys and Big Girls" weight addiction programme is about to roll out in Auckland.
He was at Te Aranga Marae in Flaxmere last week to speak to people about the possibility of bringing the programme to the region, with the help of community leaders and Sport Hawke's Bay.
"There are a lot of weight-loss programmes out there but what we have is an addiction programme for the biggest health problem known to the world but the last one to be targeted.
"We can always lose weight but we also need the full wrap-around services to assist our lives and each other."
Mr Stowers said people were caught in an endless cycle of eating foods which contained high carbohydrates, forcing the body's pancreas to release more insulin to break down sugar.
"It's not the fault of the pancreas, it's doing its job. We're taking in too many fats which are releasing carbohydrates, and that's the reason why we can't stay on diets because we are addicted to the taste and the metabolic response to sugars from our bodies.
We work hard all day, come home and then look to reward ourselves with these foods, at the same time every day, and so we get into that addictive pattern. It's all right to have one beer but not all right to have 50."
Mr Stowers said his programme urged participants to improve their health for the lives of others, rather than themselves.
"I get them to bring in two people each, to say, these are the people I want to save. If I told them to do it for themselves, they just wouldn't bother because to them ... it's like climbing Everest.
"But they'll do anything for someone else close to them and so it's about using psychology."
Mr Stowers said he had not "invented anything new". "But I believe we are the only ones with an addiction programme for morbid obesity.
There are 450 doctors in Manukau who can prescribe our programme and next year it's going to go throughout central Auckland."