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Tuesday 14 January 2014 8:06am

Professor Doug Sellman. Photo: APN

Christchurch Professor Doug Sellman and his team are trialling a new, non-surgical treatment for those with obesity called Kia Akina.

"There is a serious need to develop new non-surgical ways of treating obesity because obesity-related diseases are expensive for New Zealand, traditional non-surgical methods are not working, and surgery is very costly," says Professor Sellman of the University of Otago, Christchurch.

Kia Akina uses a 'food addiction' approach to obesity. Participants can access a range of services, such as weekly groups, email messages, email discussion online and texting with a weight-loss buddy.

“The main idea is that recovery from food addiction/obseity comes from a transformed lifestyle, the details of which are unique to the person involved and discovered as the person participates in the various aspects of the Kia Akina programme but there are general principles which can be summarized as: Take Control, Get Active, Eat Well, Persist, and Enjoy Life.”

Professor Sellman says the project will test the feasibility, short-term effectiveness and participant satisfaction of Kia Akina within a primary health care setting.

The approach is promising because it combines known effective weight-loss strategies with successful ingredients of recovery from other addictions, Professor Sellman says.

If shown to be effective, Kia Akina will be developed as a non-commercial, low cost network for obesity recovery throughout New Zealand.

The project is funded by the Health Research Council.

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