Weston Andrew Valleau Price (September 6, 1870 – January 23, 1948) was a dentist known primarily for his theories on the relationship between nutrition, dental health, and physical health. He founded the research institute of the National Dental Association, which later became the research section of the American Dental Association, and served as its chair from 1914–1928.
Price initially did dental research。 However, by 1930, he had shifted his interest to nutrition. In 1939, he published "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration", detailing his global travels studying the diets and nutrition of various cultures. The book concludes that aspects of a modern Western diet (particularly flour, sugar, and modern processed vegetable fats) cause nutritional deficiencies that are a cause of many dental issues and health problems.
This book details a series of ethnographic nutritional studies he performed across diverse cultures, including the Lötschental in Switzerland, Native Americans, Polynesians, Pygmies, and Aborigines -- 14 cultures altogether. The research materials include some 15,000 photographs, 4,000 slides, and many filmstrips.
In the book, Price claimed that various diseases endemic to Western cultures of the 1920s and 1930s – from dental caries to tuberculosis – were rarely present in non-Western cultures. He argued that as non-Western groups abandoned indigenous diets and adopted Western patterns of living, they showed increases in typical Western diseases. He concluded that Western methods of commercially preparing and storing foods stripped away vitamins and minerals necessary to prevent these diseases.
The 1939 foreword to the book, written by physical anthropologist Earnest A. Hooton, lauded Price's work for confirming previous research that dental caries were less prevalent in "savages" and attempting to establish the etiology for this difference. In 1940, a review in the Canadian Medical Association Journal called the book "a masterpiece of research", comparing Price's impact on nutrition to that of Ivan Pavlov in digestion. In 1950, a review in the journal The Laryngoscope said that Dr. Price might well be called "The Charles Darwin of Nutrition" while describing Price's documentation of his global travel and research in a book.