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The tech firm fighting obesity - and COVID-19

21 Apr 2020

Article by Jonathan Jackson.

One of the problems in trying to curb the COVID-19 pandemic is the inability to determine why some people contract the disease. The most severe cases of the virus have led to coma or death, however some who contract the virus present no symptoms at all.

And while the elderly are most at risk, time has shown that anyone of any age can be susceptible. Other than the elderly, the most at risk are those with underlying conditions including heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes. The virus has also been found to be particularly dangerous to young people with obesity issues. So not only do we have a fight against COVID-19 on our hands, but the continued fight to stem the effects of obesity just became even more serious.

MyFiziq Limited (ASX: MYQ) has developed a patented application designed to help reduce cases of obesity, whilst also having an impact in the fight against COVID-19.

This technology features a proprietary image capturing system that can be used within a consumer's smartphone. It empowers consumers to create a representation of their body structure in the form of a 3D avatar with accurate circumference measurements. 

At its essence, the application measures body fat indirectly through machine learning and body shape analysis. 

It also utilises surrogate measures of a person's total body fat mass, such as BMI, waist circumference, waist to hip ratio and waist to height ratio. These surrogate methods have been significantly associated with non-communicable diseases associated with obesity such as lung disease, heart disease and stroke.

The app delivers 97% accurate body measurements, with a repeatability of 98% and can fit snugly into third party technology.

According to MyFiziq founder Vlado Bosanac, “People genuinely want to know more about themselves and we empower them to understand themselves at a granular level. Dimension is so much more than just a measurement. Knowing your waistline tells you a lot about your risk of chronic disease, which correlates to 70% of deaths each year. People are always judging themselves and we give them a real-time way to assess where they are at any one point in time without the inaccuracy of the scale of human measure. People want to know if their hard work is paying off, we help them see if it is.”

MyFiziq is currently globalising its technology to assist individuals, communities and populations to live better healthier lives. It has so far signed agreements with several international partners in varying industries to adopt the technology.

The ASX listed tech company is focused on delivering its app to several key verticals collectively worth trillions of dollars, including health & fitness, medical & insurance, corporate wellness, apparel and mobile health.

Even before the pandemic hit, the company had already signed over 10 partnership agreements with major players within these verticals including Toll Logistics, BodiTrax and Mayweather Boxing & Fitness, which provides a digital coaching experience designed by founder Floyd Mayweather – winner of 15 major world boxing titles. 

The insurance industry is virtally important for MyFiziq.

The company’s 50% owned joint venture partner Body Composition Technologies (BCT), has today launched its first consumer-facing insurance application with The CareVoice in Hong Kong. The CareVoice is a leading China-based health insurtech company dedicated to transforming the healthcare experience in Greater China.

BCT is working to help insurers in China make better, more informed decisions through data. It can help to check abdominal obesity and diabetics and pre-diabetics and help prevent deaths from chronic disease which is 79% of deaths is China.

Importantly for MyFiziq, this marks the first reoccurring insurance revenue to commence for the Joint Venture with MyFiziq.

The MyFiziq technology opens new markets for its partners, allowing the easy collection and comparison of measurements for clothing, weight management, athletic goals, and the medical field treating illnesses such as diabetes.

This software as a service solution (SAAS) allows MyFiziq’s partners flexibility and pricing scale reductions. 

Partners in the health and fitness sector for example, charge from US$4.99 per user, per month for the app, which not only acts as a value-add for partners’ customers, but can also help partners boost member engagement and retention by enabling them to access biometric data to refine coaching, nutrition and fitness goals/plans and unlock primary health markers allowing for full access to a customer’s true health profile.

Of the fitness industry, Bosanac says, “This is right in my wheelhouse, as I was a competitive athlete. I would have used an application like this to track my training and my results. As we are so accurate, we are able to show the smallest of changes that you may not see in the mirror or on the scale. Our technology is better than a scale as it tells you what is changing and if it is in the right places.

As for the corporate wellness industry, MyFiziq helps employers protect and engage employees via gamification and digital health tracking, resulting in retention, less sick leave and better ROI. 

And with the world in lockdown, this technology is also suitable for doctors to use in a telehealth conference.

“COVID-19 has shown the world the reason Telehealth is such a good thing. Being able to remotely have a consultation with a doctor or even a pharmacist and not expose yourself to these contagions is demonstrating the extreme need for Telehealth, but I think this will become a way of life after this pandemic is gone. People will like the ability to assess themselves for their doctor via an application. Giving the doctor all the data we can provide, so they can be made a better more informed approach to your health.”

MyFiziq has enormous benefits, not only in the current pandemic environment, but for long term health. 

As a weight management tool, it could be invaluable in staving off the impact of overweight and obesity. By doing so, it could also help in the fight against COVID-19, by helping to lower the risk of a highly at-risk group.