A nutritionist has dubbed a 3km stretch of road featuring more than 30 fast-food options "Heart Attack Alley".
Lincoln Road in Henderson, West Auckland, offers an astonishing 34 fast-food options, at least 24 of which could be considered unhealthy. This does not include numerous takeaways off the main drag.
And a new development under construction near the Northwestern Motorway will soon offer even more - Texas Chicken, Miami Grill and Mexicali have moved in and developers are advertising spaces for kebab, pizza, noodle, Chinese and Italian food joints, as well as a cafe and bakery.
Nutritionist David Hill described it as a "shocking commentary on our wonderfully developed first-world country".
"I don't think it would be going too far to call it Heart Attack Alley - call it what it is. If it's going to be contributing to people's blood pres-sure, size and cholesterol going up then it's going to cause heart attacks and strokes."
He said it was compounding an environment where being obese was the norm.
"If Mr or Mrs Average has spent the last eight hours at work and has had a really hard day, it becomes so much easier to go to the drive-through and wind down the window with their little finger and in comes a whole bunch of energy-dense food that's high in fat, sugar or salt - potentially all three - and low in nutrients, fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals."
Hill - based at the Otahuhu Recreation & Youth Centre - said the ease with which fast-food outlets could be opened up needed to be examined and perhaps they should be treated the same as liquor stores.
"We're starting to do good things with tobacco in terms of taxing it at a higher rate and advertising. We're also starting to do good things with alcohol controls, but currently it's a big free-for-all with the takeaways. Henderson-Massey local board chairwoman Vanessa Neeson was stunned by the number of takeaway outlets in her neighbourhood.
"Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do about it because anyone is able to submit a resource consent and if they tick all the boxes then they can open. But it's a problem, that's for sure.
"I would like there to be [more regulations] but I'm not sure how that would work. Unfortunately a lot of families are losing their ability to actually cook meals because they're time poor mums and dads are both working 24/7 so it's an issue in this day and age."
For labourer James Clark, who was eating a KFC lunch in his car, it's just easier to grab a bite at one of the plentiful takeaway outlets than to make lunch him-self - and it's cheap.
"You get three pieces of chicken, a lot of chips and a drink for $5 and that's a pretty round meal for me.
"For me it's about money...but I'm going to sweat it out in a few hours anyway, and I bike to and from work as well."
Central Auckland couple Liam Joyce and Alex Wood said getting Burger Fuel for lunch was a rare treat, but the number of fast-food outlets on Lincoln Rd could be tempting.
"We were driving down the road and were just overwhelmed by how many places there were," Wood said. "I have no willpower whatsoever. If I smell KFC I'll want it for days."
Researchers from the universities of Auckland, Otago and Oxford this week released a study which found that some 2,400 lives a year could be saved by putting a 20 per cent tax on our saltiest, fattiest foods and by cutting the price of fruit and vegetables with a 20 per cent subsidy.
McDonald's said in a statement that the Lincoln Rd branch, which opened in 1989, offered "good access and convenience for customers".
Don't blame us - it's your choice
Lincoln Rd kebab shop owner Etem Koksal says people make their own choices about what they eat - but even he wouldn't recommend having too many kebabs each week.
Koksal has owned Roadside Kebabs for the past five years and said the location was ideal because of the amount of through-traffic and the adjoining residential streets.
"We have people who work around here - office people and all that - coming for lunch and also people who live in the area come for dinner."
He acknowledged the huge variety of fast-food joints on Lincoln Rd was bad for the community's health, but said his store was not nearly as bad as the big chains. "But people decide for themselves what they eat, and everyone knows what's not good for you."
Koksal, who also owns a kebab store in Mt Albert, was apprehensive about the new development bringing more takeaway outlets. "There are already a lot of places around here so that means there's competition - it will make a difference."