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Port Of Entry Podcast: Crossing The US-Mexico Border To Lose Weight

Tanzania Brown is pictured in this photo taken in Cancun, Mexico in 2021.

Photo by Courtes of Tanzania Brown

Above: Tanzania Brown is pictured in this photo taken in Cancun, Mexico in 2021.

Port of Entry podcast branding

We continue our series on medical tourism at the border with a story about a plus-size model who’s proud of her big body, but has health issues that lead her ... Read more →

Aired: June 9, 2021 | Transcript

Tanzania Brown is a plus-size model and body-positivity influencer on Instagram.

But just as the San Diego model’s career started taking off, her health started falling apart.

Extreme bouts of sleep apnea had her scared. And the solution, her doctors told her, was to lose weight quickly.

In a new episode of the KPBS and PRX border podcast, “Port of Entry,” we continue our series on medical tourism and follow Brown’s weight-loss journey, which takes her across the U.S.-Mexico border and into Tijuana where she undergoes bariatric surgery. Many people like Brown turn to Mexico for more affordable medical procedures and medicine.

There are plenty of horror stories about people who die while undergoing weight loss surgery in Mexico. In 2019, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even issued a travel warning, notifying the public that 11 Americans who traveled to Tijuana hospitals for weight-loss surgery had become infected with drug-resistant infections.

But Brown is extremely happy with her results. The only problem now is her fear of coming out about her procedure to her body-positivity community, an online group of people who advocate for body acceptance and tend to look down on diet culture and weight-loss surgery.


Port of Entry podcast branding

These are cross-border stories that connect us. Border people often inhabit this in-between place. From KPBS and PRX, “Port of Entry” tells personal stories from this place — stories of love, hope, struggle and survival from border crossers, fronterizxs and other people whose lives are shaped by the wall. Rooted in San Diego with tendrils reaching into Tijuana. Hosted by Alan Lilienthal, produced by Kinsee Morlan and sound design by Emily Jankowski.

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Photo of Kinsee Morlan

Kinsee Morlan
Podcast Producer & Project Coordinator

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI'm the producer of KPBS' "Port of Entry" podcast, and I help manage the rest of the station's podcasts. Leave a question below or call in or text your question to (619) 452-0228‬.

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