What Is The Men’s Health Initiative

The current goal of the Men’s Health Program is to leverage off Calgary’s Prostate Cancer Centre’s “get checked” program that is delivered to men through our MAN VAN™. As well as offering free PSA tests, we felt it made sense to have men understand other numbers that impacted their long term health. Since 2010 we have administered over 35,000 PSA tests and captured data around this test. In the last year we have collected over 1,500 statistics from men on blood sugar, blood pressure and BMI and we can definitely speak to trends we are seeing.

What We Measure

Men's Health Measurements

Waist Circumference

For the general public, one of the most reliable body measurements is “waist circumference” This measurement is an indicator of health risk associated with excess fat around the waist. Carrying excess body fat around your middle is more of a health risk than if weight is on your hips and thighs. Waist circumference is a good estimate of visceral fat, the dangerous internal fat that coats the organs. It is therefore a more accurate predictor of cardiovascular risk, (high blood pressure, high cholesterol) and type two diabetes.

To calculate waist circumference, a tape measure is wrapped around the waist, roughly in line with the belly button. A waist circumference of 102 centimeters (40 inches) or more in men, or 88 centimeters (35 inches) or more in women, is associated with health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.  Many of these diseases can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight and following a healthy lifestyle, including a well-balanced diet and regular physical activity.  Even small amounts of weight loss bring health benefits.

Blood Pressure

The pressure of the blood against the walls of the arteries. It changes with the strength of each heartbeat, the elasticity of the material walls, the blood volume and viscosity (thickness of the blood), and a mans’ overall health, age, and physical condition.

Category Systolic / Diastolic
Low risk 120 / 80
Medium risk 121-139 / 80-89
High risk 140+ / 90
For the Know Your Numbers campaign we use Heart and Stroke Foundation guidelines and Alberta Health Services.

Blood Glucose

Blood glucose is a type of sugar (glucose) in your blood. Glucose comes from the food we eat and is the main source of energy used by the body. Insulin is a naturally produced hormone that helps the cells in your body use the glucose. Insulin is produced in the pancreas and released into the blood when the amount of sugar, (glucose) in the blood rises.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that can be debilitating if not treated. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to high blood sugar levels, which can damage organs, blood vessels and nerves.

For our Know your Numbers campaign we use Canadian Diabetes Association and Alberta Health Services guidelines.

Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)

The prostate is a small gland about the size and shape of a

walnut. It is located under the bladder, in front of the rectum, and surrounds part of the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). If the prostate grows too large, the flow of urine can be slowed or stopped. The prostate makes, stores, and secretes fluid that forms part of the semen in which sperm are transported. PSA is a protein made by the prostate. Most PSA is found in semen, but some can be found in blood. A PSA test is a blood test that checks your PSA level.

High PSA levels provide a clue that a man may have prostate cancer. High levels may also be caused by cancer or non-cancerous conditions like infection, or an enlarged prostate. After treatment, your doctor will continue to monitor your PSA levels. If any prostate cancer cells remain after treatment they would cause a rise in the PSA.

Normal PSA Levels:

Age PSA Level
Up to age 49 0.00-2.50 µg/l
50-59 0.00-3.50 µg/l
60-69 0.00-4.50 µg/l
Age 70 and above 0.00-6.50 µg/l
*Reference range from Calgary lab Services.


Men's Health Resources

Strategic Overview

Men's Health

Clinical Priorties

  • Develop strategies to educate men that chronic disease can be mitigated with early interventions
  • Identify what “health” means to men
  • Empower men to make informed decisions and take charge of their health
  • Teach men how to access and evaluate available information

Care Delivery and Coordination

  • Establish clinical practice follow-up guidelines for each test or intervention
  • Assess and enhance linkages to programs and services in the community
  • Innovative methods to access care
  • Develop infrastructure to obtain quality data to support programmatic actions

Research Priorities

  • Evaluation of specific interventions of our programs to determine their impacts and outcomes and ensure continuous quality improvement of our services by collecting and analyzing data on test results and follow up calls
  • Assessment of different models of follow-up care delivery
  • Research to understand the role of empowerment and engagement in health behavior and self-management
  • We believe that continued improvements in men’s health can most effectively be achieved and sustained through greater collaboration and connections among key stakeholders and will ultimately continue to improve the health and lives of Alberta men


  • Our Man Van™ Program is the primary way we reach men. We go to where they work and play and also target places where more vulnerable populations are.
  • Develop, test and/or promote innovative methods of providing : patient navigation systems; exercise interventions; self-management; psychosocial programs; peer support
  • Establish and/or promote integrated multidisciplinary teams of health care providers to provide treatment and follow-up care
  • Develop formal partnerships between doctors, PCN’s, community support agencies and groups in order to meet the needs of men
  • Develop and maintain infrastructure to obtain quality data on all activities to support programmatic action
  • Interventions and programs to support vulnerable groups (newcomer groups, aboriginal populations)
  • Identification of current best practices in Canada and abroad.


  • No formal communication lines with other organizations
  • Lack of communication between specialists and professionals
  • Lack of understanding of what each profession has to share
  • Lack of awareness
  • Lack of dissemination of information or knowledge to PCNs


  • Women for Men’s Health Initiative with dedicated physical space and website
  • MAN VAN as a platform to go to men in places where they work and play
  • Funding to assemble a team of heath care providers that can work to teach and promote healthy lifestyle changes
  • Funding is separate from a hospital or AHS program
  • Multi-disciplinary/multi-institutional research
  • There are local resources in many cases
  • Good sites and resources developed for early disease