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 45,000 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 waist circumference and we can definitely speak to trends we are seeing.

What We Measure

Men's Health Measurements

Stress Check

The “Stress Check” is an example of how to check your emotional wellness – asking questions about feelings of fatigue, sadness and low spirits. Completing this screening on a tablet at the MAN VAN will help you determine if your recent thoughts or behaviors may be associated with a common, treatable mental health issue. Each screening takes only a few minutes, and at the end you will be presented with information and next steps. We cannot link these screenings to any one individual, so you remain anonymous.

Understanding Your Score: 

  • 0-8 – Symptoms are not consistent with depression. Presence of a depressive disorder is unlikely.
  • 9-16 – Symptoms you experience are consistent with depression or anxiety. A complete evaluation is recommended.
  • 17-30 – Symptoms are more severe and you are likely to be experiencing depression. A complete evaluation is strongly recommended.
  • Item #9 – Further evaluation is strongly recommended for anyone who scores 1 point or more and is thinking about or wanting to commit suicide.

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 guidelines from:

  • Heart and Stroke Foundation: https://www.heartandstroke.ca/-/media/pdf-files/canada/health-information-catalogue/en-managing-your-blood-pressure.ashx?la=en&hash=96DF8F3C8D87DDFC5E0DB328E6FE2418AEC684AF
  • Alberta Health Services:  https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/facilities/images/Mazankowksi/maz-pv-controlling-blood-pressure.pdf

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: https://www.diabetes.ca/
  • Alberta Health Services Guidelines: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/info/nutrition/if-nfs-ng-diabetes.pdf 

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

Men’s Health Resources

  • Canadian Men’s Health Foundation: https://menshealthfoundation.ca/
  • Global Action on Men’s Health: http://gamh.org/