Finland 2024: knowledge and behaviors about microbiota

The Biocodex Microbiota Institute commissioned Ipsos to carry out a major international survey of 6,500 individuals across seven countries (France, Spain, Portugal, the USA, Brazil, Mexico, and China): the International Microbiota Observatory.

Finns lack knowledge of microbiota and adopt few behaviors to preserve them, due to a lack of information from healthcare professionals.

1. Knowledge of microbiota is lowest in Finland

Only 8% of Finns know exactly what microbiota is (vs 23% au global),  and 1 in 10 Finns knows exactly what the gut microbiota is (11% vs 26% au global).

Finland also stands out for its low knowledge of microbiota diversity, once again falling below the average for the countries surveyed: 11% know precisely the skin microbiota (vs. 20% overall) and 11% know precisely the oral microbiota (vs. 17% overall). 

Despite these unfamiliar terms, Finns are more knowledgeable about the role and functions of the microbiota than the global average



Finns are more likely to know that diet has an impact on the balance of the microbiota
(vs 78% overall)


of Finns know that antibiotics have an impact on the microbiota
(vs 70% overall)


of Finns know that links exist between the microbiota and diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), obesity or vaginosis
(vs 64% overall)

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2. However, Finns are in the minority when it comes to adopting behaviors to maintain the balance of their microbiota

Indeed, only 36% of them have modified their habits in this direction, the lowest proportion observed among all the countries surveyed (vs. 58% overall).

What's more, and this is also the major difference with the other countries surveyed, Finland has the lowest consumption of probiotics and prebiotics. Only 25% consume probiotics (vs. 50% overall), and 19% consume prebiotics (vs. 44% overall).


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For example, only 60% have limited their consumption of processed foods, even slightly, a result below the average for all countries surveyed (vs 75% overall).

3. Healthcare professionals have a key role to play in transmitting information about microbiota in Finland

This is all the more true as 86% of Finns consider healthcare professionals to be the first reliable source of information on microbiota, a level of confidence higher than the global average (vs. 78% overall)

The lack of information is particularly noticeable in Finland, where the level of information is lowest


of Finns have been told by a healthcare professional what the microbiota is and what it is used for
(vs. 45% overall)


have been made aware of the importance of preserving the balance of their microbiota
(vs 48% overall)


of Finns have been prescribed probiotics and prebiotics
(vs 50% overall)

And even when they are prescribed antibiotics, the information provided by healthcare professionals remains weak: only 25% of Finns have received advice on how to minimize the negative consequences of taking antibiotics on their microbiota (vs. 39% overall). 

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In summary

It is therefore imperative that healthcare professionals in Finland step up their awareness-raising efforts in order to remedy this lack of information and thus improve the population's knowledge and behavior regarding the microbiota.



This second edition of the International Microbiota Observatory was conducted by Ipsos on 7,500 individuals across 11 countries (France, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Finland, Morocco, the USA, Brazil, Mexico, China, and Vietnam). Four new countries were included in this second edition: Poland, Finland, Morocco, and Vietnam.

The survey was conducted over the Internet between January 26 and February 26, 2024. For each country, the sample is representative of the population aged 18 and over in terms of :

  • gender
  • age
  • profession
  • region

Representativeness was ensured via quota sampling, the most commonly used sampling method for obtaining a representative sample of the population studied. The quota variables for each country were gender, age, region, and socio-professional category. The data were adjusted:

  • within each country, again to ensure that each population is representative
  • globally, so that each country has the same weight. Statistical analyses were carried out using Cosi software (M.L.I., France, 1994), with a significance level of 95%

The survey population was 48% male and 52% female. The average age was 46.1 years. The sample of 7,500 individuals made it possible to carry out a detailed analysis by age group:

  • 18-24
  • 25-34
  • 35-44
  • 45-59
  • 60 and over

Changes from one year to the next have been measured on a like-for-like basis, i.e. calculated taking into account only those countries present in both the first and second editions of the survey. While we do have results for the new countries included in this second edition (Poland, Finland, Morocco, and Vietnam), they have not been taken into account when calculating trends, since they were not included in the first edition of the survey. 

The questionnaire includes 27 questions on:

  1. socio-demographic data
  2. the level of knowledge about microbiomes
  3. the level of and desire for information from healthcare professionals
  4. the identification and adoption of behaviors designed to combat microbiome imbalances
  5. the level of knowledge, information, and behaviors of women about the vulvo-vaginal microbiome
  6. health data

The questionnaire lasted ten minutes and the 7,500 individuals had to complete the entire questionnaire in order to be included in the survey. The terms used in the questionnaire to talk about the microbiome have been translated and adapted to the terms used in each country.