Dietary vitamin C and beta-carotene and risk of death in middle-aged men. The Western Electric Study

Am J Epidemiol. 1995 Dec 15;142(12):1269-78. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a117594.


In the Western Electric Company Study, carried out in Chicago, Illinois, data on diet and other factors were obtained in 1958 and 1959 for a cohort of 1,556 employed, middle-aged men. Nutrients included vitamin C and beta-carotene. An index that summarized combined intake of both nutrients was constructed. Mean intakes of vitamin C in the lowest and highest tertiles of the index were 66 and 138 mg/day; corresponding values for beta-carotene were 2.3 and 5.3 mg/day. A total of 522 of 1,556 men died during 32,935 person-years of follow-up, 231 from coronary heart disease and 155 from cancer. After adjustment for potentially confounding factors, relative risks (95% confidence intervals) associated with an increment of 19 points in the index (difference between means of the lowest and highest tertiles) were 0.60 (0.39-0.93) for cancer mortality, 0.70 (0.49-0.98) for coronary disease mortality, and 0.69 (0.55-0.87) for all-cause mortality. These results support the hypothesis that consumption of foods rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene reduces risk of death in middle-aged men.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Carotenoids / administration & dosage*
  • Chicago / epidemiology
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Coronary Disease / mortality
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pilot Projects
  • Risk Factors
  • Telephone
  • beta Carotene


  • Antioxidants
  • beta Carotene
  • Carotenoids
  • Ascorbic Acid