A tale of 2 suburbs…

Article by : Neelima Choahan; Published in the Age

All her life Rianna Albano has been big.

But when her little girl turned one in August this year, the 32-year-old decided to do something about it.

“I couldn’t get on the floor and play with her. Getting up and down was hard,” Ms Albano said.

“When she started eating solid food, she wanted what I was eating.”

So Ms Albano decided to do something radical.

She signed up with Body Revival gym in Thomastown, including personal training sessions and cooking classes with a nutritionist.

“I weigh 140 kilograms, and I started at 164 kilograms,” Ms Albano said. “I am 178 centimetres tall, and I aim to lose another 50 kilograms.

“I just wanted to live a healthier and longer life for my daughter.”

According to Australia’s Health Tracker, which provides a report card on the health of the country by area, the mother-of-one’s fitness regime makes her unique in the neighbourhood.

New data from the Australian Health Policy Collaboration shows that Thomastown tops the scales with 71 per cent of people overweight or obese.

The others areas are Lalor, Corio, Norlane in Geelong, and Campbellfield.

Ms Albano, who has lived in Thomastown all her life, said the suburb had little options for public transport or healthy eating.

“It is all about pastries and pasta,” she said.

“There is a lot of takeaway and fast food, but there are no nice restaurants.”

Intersected by the metropolitan Ring Road, Thomastown is the 230th most walkable suburb in Melbourne, and most errands require a car- shopping in big supermarkets on the suburb’s fringe, finding parkland to enjoy, getting anywhere near a safe bike path.

The suburb is ranked 211th on The Age’s Livability Index. Its lack of cafes and restaurants and green spaces dragged its score down, along with its congested roads.

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