France 2024: knowledge and behaviors about microbiota

The survey was conducted by Ipsos among 7,500 people in 11 countries (France, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Finland, United States, Brazil, Mexico, Morocco, China, and Vietnam).

The French and microbiota: knowledge on the rise, but behavior to be improved!

1. France is one of the countries where we've seen the greatest progress in knowledge of microbiota

33% know exactly what the term "microbiota" means (+6 points vs 2023, 23% overall), 34% know about the intestinal microbiota (+6 points vs 2023, 26% overall).

Despite some progress, other microbiota are less well known: 25% know precisely the vaginal microbiota (+6 points vs 2023, 20% overall), 20% know precisely the oral microbiota (+6 points vs 2023, 20% overall) and 15% know precisely the skin microbiota (+3 points vs 2023, 17% overall).

Knowledge of the microbiota's characteristics remains very limited


of French people know that the microbiota is not made up solely of bacteria
(vs 28% overall)


of French people know that microbiota is not located exclusively in the intestines
(vs 46% overall)


know that the gut microbiota enables the intestine to deliver essential health information to the brain
(vs 53% overall)

Microorganisms: key for human health

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Young parents

2. Fewer French people than average have changed their behavior to promote a balanced microbiota

Less than half of French people have changed their behavior to promote a balanced microbiota (48% vs 58% overall), with only 12% claiming to do so a lot.

In particular, they consume fewer probiotics (33% vs 50% overall) and prebiotics (25% vs 44% overall) than the rest.


What exactly are probiotics?

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Conversely, certain good practices are more widely adopted: 74% avoid washing more than once a day (vs 41% overall).

3. Faced with these shortcomings, healthcare professionals have a key role to play in educating people about the microbiota

Healthcare professionals are considered by 4 out of 5 French people to be the primary source of reliable information on the microbiota (81%, vs 78% overall). 

Even if the French are becoming better informed about microbiota, this level remains low compared to the rest of the world


have been informed by their healthcare professional about what microbiota is and what it is used for (+13 points vs 2023, 45% overall).


have received explanations about the right behaviors to maintain a balanced microbiota (+14 points vs 2023, 48% overall).


of French people have been made aware of the negative consequences of taking antibiotics on the balance of their microbiota (+4 points vs 2023, 39% overall).

Have you heard of "dysbiosis"?

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Even though the level of information is still too low, information provided by healthcare professionals has a positive influence on behavior: 88% of people who have received information from a healthcare professional have changed their behavior to maintain a balanced microbiota (vs. 48% of French people).

In summary

In France, although the term "microbiota" is better known than in other countries, the behaviors adopted to keep it balanced are still insufficient; it is therefore essential that information be passed on by healthcare professionals.



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.