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Am J Epidemiol. 1995 Dec 15;142(12):1269-78.

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

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  • 1University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston 77030, USA.


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.

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