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East Providence teenager benefits from bariatric weight loss surgery

Jenna Bergeron of East Providence is seeing the benefits of bariatric weight loss surgery. (WJAR){ }
Jenna Bergeron of East Providence is seeing the benefits of bariatric weight loss surgery. (WJAR)
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A teen is benefiting from bariatric weight loss surgery.

"I was just absolutely miserable all the time, like mentally and physically, always exhausted,” said 18-year-old Jenna Bergeron of East Providence.

She says she grew up overweight; kids calling her names "Like fatty,” she recalled.

It took an emotional toll, but diets didn't work for her.

At her heaviest, Jenna tipped the scales at 330 pounds.

Then her mom, Jennifer, did something. She went through bariatric surgery in August of 2016 and lost big.

And that got Jenna to thinking.

"I was like I really need to fix this,” she said.

So, she considered bariatric surgery too.

"She was a good candidate because she showed motivation," said Dr. Elizabeth Renaud, who specializes in pediatric bariatric surgery at The Miriam Hospital.

It's a process, she says, as teenagers must meet strict guidelines and undergo psychological counseling.

"Then they start to go through nutritional counseling with our bariatric nutritionist and that lasts for at least six months and we track their progress to see that they're complying with the recommendations that they're showing proper motivation,” said Renaud.

There was also one other hurdle because she was only 16: Getting insurance to cover it.

"And I said to them, so basically you're telling me you want my daughter to be overweight, a diabetic and putting more money into your system than taking care of her health today and they're like can you hold on a minute and they came back and said well, we'll approve her,” recalled Jennifer.

Her surgery was performed in 2019 by Dr. Beth Ryder at The Miriam, and a year later, Jenna is down more than 100 pounds.

"It's just been a really life-changing event for her,” said Jennifer.

"I feel great. Overall my confidence has just like gotten so much better," added Jenna.

For more information on adolescent bariatric surgery, click here.

And for the Center for Bariatric Surgery, click here.

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