TORONTO, ON (NEWS1130) – What is holding Canada back from greatness?

Canadian Business has some ideas, listing some of the barriers the country faces — from your waistline to your education to your attitude toward wealth — that are a drag on economic growth. The magazine suggests the obesity rate is one of the top things Canada needs to confront.

“About 60 per cent of Canadians are overweight and 24 per cent are obese. That certainly puts us high on the list [among other countries], higher than we would like to be,” says Managing Editor Graham Scott.

“This isn’t about making people ashamed or demoralized. From our perspective it has real economic cost,” he explains. “People’s inability to work, higher workplace injuries and more time off work because of disabilities related to obesity and obesity-related medical conditions.”

The obesity rate is also putting more of a strain on Canada’s healthcare system which, Scott points out, puts more of a strain on the tax base.

Then there are all our Liberal Arts university grads.

“It’s not a bad thing in and of itself, but the issue is when we have more people going into higher education and pursuing humanities subjects, often that means they are not going into things like trades or other areas that are economically important to the country and that are good, stable jobs for people,” says Scott. “Not everyone needs to go to university. There are excellent reasons not to go and choose something like construction or oil and gas.”

Canadian Business reports the predicted employment shortfalls over the coming decade will reach 163,000 in construction, 130,000 in the oil and gas industry and 60,000 in nursing.

“If we could persuade people to forgo this particular strain of higher education and go into these practical fields that we really need, it would be great,” Scott believes.

“It would also cut down on debt. People are taking on tens of thousands of dollars in order to get these degrees and it delays their entrance into the workforce, it delays the time they get married, when they buy a house. It seems clear it’s also changing the character of the Canadian family, when people are choosing to get pregnant and how many kids they’re choosing to have.”

Canada’s dropping fertility rate is tops on the magazine’s list of the country’s problems. Our lack of procreation puts us sixth from the bottom, globally, and is expected to put even more pressure on the labour force, shrinking Canada’s growth potential even further.

Canadian Business suggests we also lack ambition to succeed, at least monetarily, because Canadians have a disdain for the rich.

“It’s a question about wealth and what we think it means in our lives,” Scott explains. “It’s about how we feel about money and whether or not we are ambitious enough to become wealthy. In the US, about 6-in-10 say it’s a really good thing there’s a wealthy class of people. In Canada it’s only about 4-in-10. You see that manifest itself in Canadian culture as a certain lack of ambition to get rich, it’s not something we value as much.”

High home prices, obsolete copyright laws, protectionism, even seniors discounts, Canadian content on TV and Canada geese make the Canadian Business list of barriers to our success.