A Message from Dr. Ed Baltes
I am one four Central Ohio Nutrition Center (CONCI) physicians dedicated to helping those who struggle with weight. I have worked at CONCI for 30 years, as a bariatric physician. Bariatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, treatment, and prevention of obesity.
Why bariatrics? During the course of my medical school education, my exposure to nutrition amounted to a luncheon by the dietitians at the Ohio State University. This area of medicine, to this day, is not given any respect at medical schools. Medical schools are run by subspecialists, cardiologists, endocrinologists, etc. In addition to nutrition, even Family Practice is tucked away in a corner and not respected or appreciated at most medical schools.
Dr. Harry Shaver, the director of the family practice program at Mt. Carmel Hospital in Columbus Ohio, when I was a resident, recognized that obesity was a contributing factor in many health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, infertility, cancer, acid reflux, orthopedic problems, skin problems ,etc. He aggressively attacked obesity with exercise, behavior modification, medication, and diet. In 1977, he was trained at the Cleveland Mt. Sinai Hospital by Drs. Vertes and Genuth to utilize OPTIFAST as the nutritional component of a very low calorie diet to help morbidly obese patients (many with the above noted medical problems) lose weight and improve their health. Dr.Shaver brought the OPTIFAST program to our family practice residency where we were trained to manage patients on very low calorie diets.
In 1979, the first wave of OPTIFAST- trained resident physicians including Dr. Richard Lutes, Dr. Tom Broyles, Dr. Robert May, Judy Loper, PhD, and myself opened our private practice which we called the Central Ohio Nutrition Center, Inc. Today, we are the second largest OPTIFAST program in the United States. It is a very up-tempo experience. Patients are elated with their weight loss. They feel better on a weekly basis. Medications are discontinued as their health improves, saving them money. Bariatricians are the only doctors, to my knowledge, who take medicine away. All the other doctors keep adding pills. In my 35 years in medicine, having taken care of thousands of patients, weight loss for an obese patient is the closest thing to a panacea.