Food delivery services are all the rage now, but new company Hit 100 aims to not just provide convenience and weight loss options but to fight the alarming rise of diabetes in Australia.
Around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes including those already diagnosed with type 1 and 2 (1.2 million) as well as 500,000 undiagnosed and at risk.
￼One in three hospitals beds in Australia are occupied by people with diabetes or diabetes-related ￼complications at a cost to the public health system and economy of $14.6 billion per annum, and 280 Australians develop diabetes every day -- which is one person every five minutes.
Hit 100 founder and trained physiotherapist Karn Ghosh says the situation is critical.
“In my time working in the public healthcare system in Taree and rural NSW I had the stark realisation that the current obesity crisis was leading to a tsunami of preventable lifestyle-related diseases and in particular type 2 diabetes,” he told The Huffington Post Australia.
“One of the most confronting statistics that I have come across is that for the first time in the history of mankind -- and I don’t use those words lightly -- we live in a world where the next generation of children has a shorter life expectancy than that of our own parents and this is a problem of our own making.
“I fundamentally believe that everyone deserves the right to a happy and healthy life; I feel incredibly strong about this issue and I think it’s actually a social justice issue.”
Ghosh decided to create Hit 100, a home delivery service of meals specifically catered to diabetics, to reduce Australia’s collective waistline and prevent more Australians developing diabetes because of poor diet and obesity.
In conjunction with partners Diabetes NSW and Diabetes Victoria, Ghosh conducted a survey of more than 2400 people living with diabetes about their health and the support they needed.
“We learnt from those surveys that food and meal times were by far the biggest sources of frustration and that’s why we launched a couple of months ago with a complete meal solution coupled with a 100 point system to take the frustration out of mealtimes,” he said.
The food delivery is tailored to each person and is coupled with the 100 point system that Ghosh developed with a senior dietitian on his five-person team. The aim is to reach 100 points per day to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“We have taken a really holistic doctor-meets-chef approach to everything we do,” he said. “It’s actually just healthy, balanced food with a little bit of extra consideration given to the carbohydrate quality and content. But the points system is the special sauce -- it comes to life by the user filling in a 60-second health profile which takes into account health, weight, gender, physical activity and weight loss goal and what that allows us to do is individualise the requirements and tailor the experience through that person and their health specifically.”
Users reach 100 points not just via calorie counting but through a range of factors.
“We all know it’s a fallacy that every calorie was created equal, so what we’ve done in that scientifically robust algorithm in the back end of the form system is take into account how healthy a food is,” he said.
“So we look at its health star rating, the carbohydrate quantity and quality -- so how slowly does it release energy into your bloodstream -- we also look at the total energy of the food, which is the calorie component, but we also look at sodium and saturated fat and your fruit and veg serves in the context of your entire day’s requirements.
“So you can’t hit 100 points unless you make a bunch of good decisions.”
Established in 2014, Hit 100 has thus far concentrated on Sydney’s western suburbs, which were identified in the Diabetes NSW survey as very high risk regions for diabetes. Ghosh said most of the current users are from Sydney’s southwest and western corridor and are providing incredible feedback and results.
“It’s been pretty exciting to build that community and we have a very engaged user base,” he said. “It’s a two-way conversation and we have been blown away by some of the weight loss and blood glucose control stories that we are getting back already.”
Ghosh says he hopes to grow the business through social media, offline seminars with older at-risk Australians and building up referrals through GPs and dieticians and has plans to build it into a more wholistic health company. But in a way he also hopes there’ll one day be no need for Hit 100.
“I think the end game for us is healthy, measurable and sustainable behaviour change and food is only a small part of that,” he said. “We started with food but we are firmly marching towards a technology-led disruption of diabetes management.
“I think if we could put ourselves out of business I’d be pretty happy in some way.”