Healthy Living in the North

Partnership with UNBC Wellness Centre highlights the health of young men

In March 2011, Northern Health and the UNBC Wellness Centre developed a partnership to provide screenings to students to check their blood pressure, sugars and cholesterol as well as a pre-screening for stress and depression. The event was an overwhelming success so we decided to do it again!

Northern Health and UNBC once again came together to offer the same event during November 2012, building off the momentum from the Movember campaign. The event was made possible through the partnership of the Northern Health men’s health team, the UNBC Wellness Center, the Canadian Cancer Society, and the BC Cancer Agency.

men's health screening

A total of 123 men came through the men’s health screening at UNBC. Mustaches were complimentary!

A total of 123 men were screened over the two day event. Many more came by the event for health information, games, and a free photo with complimentary mustaches. We were hoping for a good turnout and the students did not disappoint!

We want to thank UNBC for hosting the event, as well as our partner agencies for all their work in making these great two days possible. Let’s continue to spread the word about men’s health in our communities!

Visit men.northernhealth.ca for more information on men’s health and community events to support this initiative.

Brandon Grant

About Brandon Grant

As the NH men’s health coordinator, Brandon Grant travels across the Northern Health region speaking with community members about the health issues men face and what we can do to improve men’s health. He has worked with a variety of community-based organizations, including the Nawican Friendship Centre and the Northern Family Health Society, and holds two master’s degrees, one in social work and one in public administration. To stay active, Brandon enjoys playing golf and tennis, and whenever possible, visits tropical destinations to go snorkeling.

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Our Mr. Movember winner

Mr. Movember

Azreer Gill came in first place with the most votes in November’s Mr. Movember contest!

During the month of November, people all over the world promoted men’s health and prostate cancer by growing a Mo to help raise money to support prostate cancer research. The Northern Health Men’s Health program helped raise awareness by holding its first ever Mr. Movember contest to see who could grow the best Mo.

There were 11 very brave participants from across the Northern Health region.  Their pictures were posted on the men’s health website for all to see and the public voted on who had the best Mo. Each week, a new photo of each participants was put on the website to show their growing progress.

With over 4,000 votes from people picking their favourite Mo, we are pleased to announce that Azreer Gill, an NH environmental health officer from Terrace, is the winner of the first annual Mr. Movember contest.  Secondplace went to Shane Wadden, another environmental health officer from Terrace, and third went to Andrew Aucoin, Manager, Housekeeping and Laundry, from Prince George.

Thank you to everyone who voted and to all the participants! We look forward to next year.

Brandon Grant

About Brandon Grant

As the NH men’s health coordinator, Brandon Grant travels across the Northern Health region speaking with community members about the health issues men face and what we can do to improve men’s health. He has worked with a variety of community-based organizations, including the Nawican Friendship Centre and the Northern Family Health Society, and holds two master’s degrees, one in social work and one in public administration. To stay active, Brandon enjoys playing golf and tennis, and whenever possible, visits tropical destinations to go snorkeling.

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MAN Profile: The Big Blue Ball

Big Blue Ball

A full room at the Big Blue Ball.

In the time that I’ve been with Northern Health’s men’s health program, doing community consultations and talking to men across the region, I’ve seen that men face unique challenges when it comes to their health. One of my biggest goals as NH men’s health coordinator is finding ways that we can make health more accessible to men. We’ve heard from men everywhere that they’re more likely to be responsive to a direct approach where they’re involved in the conversation, and this is why I’m thrilled about the success of The Big Blue Ball.

The Big Blue Ball was a fundraising event in Prince George that took place November 10, with the aim of raising awareness and money for men’s health, prostate cancer programs and Rotary Club community programs. About $46,000 was raised at the event!

Fake mustache

The event was a hit, complete with fake mustaches!

I talked to John Kason, one of the event’s key organizers, and he explained the rationale for organizing the event: “We wanted to create a type of event that can be replicated across the region. We know there was a need in the community, because often men don’t talk about their health until it might be too late.”

The Big Blue Ball is an example of community partners coming together from across Prince George to raise awareness about men’s health. The night featured great entertainment by Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne and a keynote address by Dr. Art Hister.

“Health care is something that affects everyone,” John noted, and thanks to the effort of this great event’s organizers, men’s health awareness continues to grow in our region.

Please visit men.northernhealth.ca for more information on Men’s Health, and to participate in the Month of Man activities we have going on for the month of November!

Brandon Grant

About Brandon Grant

As the NH men’s health coordinator, Brandon Grant travels across the Northern Health region speaking with community members about the health issues men face and what we can do to improve men’s health. He has worked with a variety of community-based organizations, including the Nawican Friendship Centre and the Northern Family Health Society, and holds two master’s degrees, one in social work and one in public administration. To stay active, Brandon enjoys playing golf and tennis, and whenever possible, visits tropical destinations to go snorkeling.

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Month of Man: Celebrating the men in your life

Brandon's Mo

Brandon shows off his own Mo and the Movember decorations he added to a colleague’s door.

Happy Mo Growin’ to everyone! I hope your Mo’s are coming along nicely now that we’re in the middle of Movember.

Some of our Northern Health men (and even women – see photo below!) have been showing off their Mo’s in order to help raise awareness of prostate cancer research and men’s health. We’ve gathered photos of these Mo Bros, posted them on our men’s health site and now we need your help! Who do you think is growing the best Mo?

We’ll be updating their photos with their progress on Friday, so be sure to check back and vote again – you can even vote every day if you want to. Then on December 7, we’ll crown the best Mo’Grower as the 2012 Mr. Movember.

Cookie Mo's

Kathleen, a public health nurse from Dawson Creek, brought in a batch of gingerbread mustache cookies to celebrate Movember!

Have you seen the new MANual yet? It’s our gift to you: a men’s health survival guide. Men’s health matters, so this booklet gives you health information for men of all ages about nutrition, active living and health screenings men need at various stages of life. Check it out and be sure to share it with other men in your life!

You can even win your own print copy of the MANual. Test your knowledge in our interactive men’s health quiz and you could win a MANual and an assortment of other men’s health goodies!

Don’t miss out! Visit the men’s health site today!

Brandon Grant

About Brandon Grant

As the NH men’s health coordinator, Brandon Grant travels across the Northern Health region speaking with community members about the health issues men face and what we can do to improve men’s health. He has worked with a variety of community-based organizations, including the Nawican Friendship Centre and the Northern Family Health Society, and holds two master’s degrees, one in social work and one in public administration. To stay active, Brandon enjoys playing golf and tennis, and whenever possible, visits tropical destinations to go snorkeling.

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Getting active is easy, even if golf isn’t

Brandon golfing

Brandon hit the links for a round of golf and completed two hours of activity without even noticing.

Getting healthy and active can be tough sometimes, but when you’re doing something you love and enjoy, it certainly makes it a lot easier. Keeping the healthy living guidelines (NH’s position papers) in mind around the long-term effects of physical inactivity and sedentary behavior on your health, I have decided to increase my activity during the September Healthy Living Challenge. My first step was to hit the links for a round of golf.

Now full disclosure: I am a terrible golfer. I probably spend more time on unplanned nature walks looking for lost balls then I do “chipping in” the ball for par. But after enjoying playing the front nine I realized that I had just completed two hours of activity without even noticing.

Northern Health’s position on physical inactivity and sedentary behavior says:

“To achieve health benefits, adults should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more.”

At first, 150 minutes can seem like a lot, even impossible, to fit into a busy life, but it’s really only 30 minutes, five times a week, or 21 minutes and 43 seconds daily! And I think if we find things that we enjoy doing, the exercise and healthy benefits will come naturally. We can have fun getting fit and have huge impacts on our health in the process. Need more proof? Check out this video: what is the single best thing we can do for our health?

That doesn’t necessarily mean playing golf; for others that might mean going for walks, riding a bicycle, or exploring the natural beauty that northern B.C. has to offer. Physical activity doesn’t need to hard or even expensive – it’s about doing what you love, even if you’re not the best at it. So get up, get moving and try different things. Enjoy moving toward better health!

To learn more about guidelines for living a healthy life, I encourage everyone to visit our site.

Brandon Grant

About Brandon Grant

As the NH men’s health coordinator, Brandon Grant travels across the Northern Health region speaking with community members about the health issues men face and what we can do to improve men’s health. He has worked with a variety of community-based organizations, including the Nawican Friendship Centre and the Northern Family Health Society, and holds two master’s degrees, one in social work and one in public administration. To stay active, Brandon enjoys playing golf and tennis, and whenever possible, visits tropical destinations to go snorkeling.

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Getting off the couch

We want to see more empty couches!

We want to see more empty couches! Remember, every move counts!

We are all living increasingly busier lives, with work and family commitments taking up more and more of our time. After a long day of work, veggin’ out in front of a TV screen is usually the most attractive option. Since September is the Healthy Living Challenge month, I thought that I would try to use some of the key principles found in the Sedentary and Physical Inactivity position paper, which outlines some important points to help people thinking about increasing their physical activity during the day. I want to share with you two important principles that the position outlines:

  • Consider how ready you are for activity right now. Starting with what is comfortable now, increase either how long you’re active or how hard you work, as long as you are comfortable.
  • Set incremental, SMART goals (SMART goals are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and are Time-bound); set a ultimate or long-term goal.

With this in mind, in September, I am going to use the gradual approach and engage in activities that interest me like golfing, fishing, and playing tennis. Over the course of the month I will gradually increase my activity levels.

It is important to note that getting active doesn’t necessarily mean buying a golf course membership, or purchasing expensive equipment – you just need to begin to replace inactive time with active time! I think if we all live under the principle that every move counts, we can find ways to increase activity and incorporate more movement throughout our day in a way that works for us and our individual lifestyles. When it comes to being active, there are many choices and in this case, being an individual is good; one size doesn’t fit all. Find what works best for you! Later this month, my colleagues will demonstrate in a blog post how you can incorporate movement in the office and during meetings.

Stay tuned this week when I post my progress increasing my activity levels by doing the things that interest me. I also encourage you to learn more about all of our guidelines for living a healthier life.

Brandon Grant

About Brandon Grant

As the NH men’s health coordinator, Brandon Grant travels across the Northern Health region speaking with community members about the health issues men face and what we can do to improve men’s health. He has worked with a variety of community-based organizations, including the Nawican Friendship Centre and the Northern Family Health Society, and holds two master’s degrees, one in social work and one in public administration. To stay active, Brandon enjoys playing golf and tennis, and whenever possible, visits tropical destinations to go snorkeling.

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Let’s get cooking: Man Cave Chowder and challenge #1

All of us involved in the September Healthy Living Challenge are very excited to share a cooking demonstration with you! Loraina Stephen, population health dietitian, and Fraser Bell, vice president of planning and quality, cook up a healthy batch of Man Cave Chowder in the video below. Cooking food with lots of healthy ingredients, including a wide variety of colourful vegetables and local fish, is not only delicious, but a great way to encourage good health at all stages of life.

Our challenge to you for the first week of the September Healthy Living Challenge is for YOU to try out your cooking skills by making a Man Cave Chowder! Take a photo of you making the chowder or of the final product (or both!) and visit our contest page for details on how to enter. We might post your picture on the blog and you’ll have a chance to win a great prize.

Watch the video below as Loraina and Fraser demonstrate how to cook this recipe and see the bottom of this post for the full Man Cave Chowder recipe.

As always, we encourage everyone to go to visit NH’s position statement site for guidelines for healthy living.

Good luck and have fun cooking!

Man Cave Chowder (serves 6)
(Adapted from Cook Great Food by Dietitians of Canada (Fish and Vegetable Chowder pg. 104))

What you need:

Man Cave Chowder

Man Cave Chowder

  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
  • 1 chopped potato (medium)
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 2½ tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup long grain brown rice
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can (398 ml) 2% evaporated milk
  • 3 cups (500 g) fish, cut into chunks (Pollock, Sole, Trout, Ling Cod, Salmon, Cod, Shrimp etc.)
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

What you do:

  • Wash, peel and chop the onion, celery, red bell pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, potatoes and garlic.
  • Spread vegetables (except broccoli) onto 13×9 roasting pan or shallow baking dish and drizzle with 2 tbsp canola oil and toss to mix. Roast in preheated oven at 350°F (160°C) for 30-40 minutes, or until fork-tender, stirring occasionally.
  • While the vegetables are roasting, heat ½ tbsp canola oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add brown rice and sauté for about five minutes or until lightly toasted. Add chicken broth and let soup simmer on low for about 40 minutes.
  • When the roasted vegetables are soft, add them to the simmering rice and broth. When the rice is soft, add the fish, chopped tomato, seasoning, broccoli and evaporated milk; cover and cook for 6-8 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
  • Enjoy!
Brandon Grant

About Brandon Grant

As the NH men’s health coordinator, Brandon Grant travels across the Northern Health region speaking with community members about the health issues men face and what we can do to improve men’s health. He has worked with a variety of community-based organizations, including the Nawican Friendship Centre and the Northern Family Health Society, and holds two master’s degrees, one in social work and one in public administration. To stay active, Brandon enjoys playing golf and tennis, and whenever possible, visits tropical destinations to go snorkeling.

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Aboriginal Day in Terrace: Fun for all ages

Brandon and Agnes at the Aboriginal Day celebrations in Terrace

Brandon Grant, NH Men’s Health Coordinator, stands with two gentlemen who stopped by and received Northern BC Man Challenge t-shirts, and Agnes Snow, Regional Director of Aboriginal Health, at the Aboriginal Day celebrations in Terrace, BC.

On June 23, I had the opportunity to participate in the National Aboriginal Day celebrations in Terrace, along with Agnes Snow, Regional Director of Aboriginal Health. The event was in the downtown park in Terrace, where people were able to purchase food, jewelry, and art at display booths surrounding the grass and a stage featuring live entertainment from local dancers and singers happened all day.

I was manning an informational booth for the NH men’s health program, where we handed out men’s health reports and our other promotional materials, such as our Northern BC Man Challenge t-shirt and golf balls. We had a lot of folks drop by our booth to check out our materials but also to talk about their stories, and what good health meant to them. One gentleman who was visiting from an outside community stopped by and chatted about how hard it was to talk to men about their health and the small things we can all do to improve our health outcomes. This has been a common theme throughout the past year of the program – what can we do to reach men who traditionally have a hard time speaking about their health challenges? We’re hoping that as we engage with more folks like this, we will create a momentum that will make men’s health part of a broader agenda for healthier communities.

It was great to be a part of an event where people of all ages came out to enjoy the beautiful weather, food, activities, and entertainment. I’m hoping to travel to more communities soon, especially the ones where folks who stopped by our booth and requested men’s health presentations came from. And hopefully I will be back to the Aboriginal Day celebrations in Terrace again next year!

Do you have men’s health story? Please share it with us!

Brandon Grant

About Brandon Grant

As the NH men’s health coordinator, Brandon Grant travels across the Northern Health region speaking with community members about the health issues men face and what we can do to improve men’s health. He has worked with a variety of community-based organizations, including the Nawican Friendship Centre and the Northern Family Health Society, and holds two master’s degrees, one in social work and one in public administration. To stay active, Brandon enjoys playing golf and tennis, and whenever possible, visits tropical destinations to go snorkeling.

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Salmon Run 2012: Bowering still winning races after March MANness Competition

Agnes Snow and Dr. David Bowering participated in the Salmon Run.

Agnes Snow, NH director of Aboriginal health, and Dr. David Bowering, medical health officer for the northwest, both participated in the Salmon Run and received medals.

Kitsumkalum hosts the Salmon Run every year, and this year’s was a great success with nearly 400 participants from across the north competing in an elders’ walk, 5k, and 10k distance runs.

I attended this year’s event, held on June 24, to hold down the men’s health booth so I could share information on living a healthy life with the area’s male population and the women who love them. Some of my colleagues were also at the event hosting booths on the topics of quitting smoking and nutrition.

A few staff members from Northern Health also competed in the race, with some even winning medals! Dr. David Bowering, northwest medical health officer, won the gold medal in the male 5km category, with a time of 28:56, proving that his controversial win in the March MANness Competition was no fluke! Director of Aboriginal Health Agnes Snow also participated, winning the silver medal in the female elders’ walk. Great work!

Even I participated in the run, but was far behind in the middle of the pack.

The spirit and energy at the 2012 Salmon Run was fantastic, and a great example of people of all ages coming together to promote healthier lifestyles. Congratulations to the event organizers for promoting wellness to the community and making northern health matter!

Brandon Grant

About Brandon Grant

As the NH men’s health coordinator, Brandon Grant travels across the Northern Health region speaking with community members about the health issues men face and what we can do to improve men’s health. He has worked with a variety of community-based organizations, including the Nawican Friendship Centre and the Northern Family Health Society, and holds two master’s degrees, one in social work and one in public administration. To stay active, Brandon enjoys playing golf and tennis, and whenever possible, visits tropical destinations to go snorkeling.

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Men’s health event and screening in McBride was a huge success!

McBride Pioneer Days

The NH team promoting men’s health. L-R: Brandon Grant, Mike Benusic, Sheila Anderson, Roxanne Coates and Susanna Gasser.

On June 17th, I was able to participate in a great event held during the McBride Pioneer Days Pancake Breakfast at the Elk’s Hall. I was there to promote men’s health, along with other Northern Health staff who conducted blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol checks for men who came in for breakfast. We also had an information booth with a variety of health resources for residents.

As with most of our events across the region, the men we saw really stepped up and took on the challenge to learn more about their health, with over 30 participants lining up to get checked. As I spoke with some of the folks at the Elk’s Hall, it reminded me of the importance of the work we are doing to raise the spotlight on men’s health. The men and women who came by shared stories about their own health issues and real-life examples that have showed them how important it is to reach men at all stages of life, but especially when they’re young.

The best part about my job is visiting all the communities in our vast region, speaking with people about what good health means to them, and what we can do as a community and health authority to raise awareness about health issues of men living in the north. The work continues, but with the help of our committed Northern Health staff and our community partners, we can make men’s health better for all that call the north home. Thanks to the great folks that helped make this event possible!

Brandon Grant

About Brandon Grant

As the NH men’s health coordinator, Brandon Grant travels across the Northern Health region speaking with community members about the health issues men face and what we can do to improve men’s health. He has worked with a variety of community-based organizations, including the Nawican Friendship Centre and the Northern Family Health Society, and holds two master’s degrees, one in social work and one in public administration. To stay active, Brandon enjoys playing golf and tennis, and whenever possible, visits tropical destinations to go snorkeling.

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