Portugal 2024: knowledge and behaviors about microbiota

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

In Portugal, knowledge of the microbiota and the behaviors adopted to preserve it is low, as a result of the limited transmission of information by healthcare professionals.

1. Portugal stands out for its lower-than-average knowledge of the term "microbiota"

Only 15% of Portuguese claim to know exactly what the "microbiota" is (-2 points vs. 2023, 23% overall). and only 20% know exactly what the intestinal microbiota is (= vs. 2023, 26% overall)

Knowledge of the diversity of microbiota is equally limited: 17% know exactly what the vaginal microbiota (= vs 2023, 20% au global), (= vs. 2023, 20% overall), and 15% know exactly what the oral microbiota (-1 point vs. 2023, 20% overall).

On the other hand, the Portuguese appear much more familiar with the term "flora" . Thus, 71% know exactly what intestinal flora is (+2 points vs. 2023), a proportion significantly higher than the average (56% overall).


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When it comes to their knowledge of the characteristics of the microbiota, Portuguese results are relatively similar to those of all the countries studied.



know that diet influences the balance of the microbiota (-1 point vs. 2023, 78% overall)



know that an imbalance of the microbiota can have numerous consequences on health (-4 points vs. 2023, 77% overall)

Young parents

2. Less than half of Portuguese people have modified their behaviors to keep their microbiota balanced, a lower proportion than average

47% have modified their behaviors to preserve the balance of their microbiota, a lower proportion than average (vs. 58% overall), and only 6% do so a lot (vs. 17% overall)



of Portuguese people engage in physical and sports activities (vs 78% globally)


avoid showering more than once a day, a good practice that is more widespread than average (-4 points vs 2023, 77% overall).

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This is illustrated by their lower consumption of probiotics (36%, vs. 50% overall) and de prebiotics (24%, vs. 44% overall).


Conversely, 69% avoid showering more than once a day, a good practice that is more widespread than average (vs. 41% overall).

3. Healthcare professionals have a key role to play in microbiota education

Healthcare professionals are considered by 9 out of 10 Portuguese to be the primary source of reliable information on microbiota (vs. 78% globally). 

The Portuguese received less information from their healthcare professionals than in the rest of the world


were informed by their healthcare professional about what the microbiota is and what it is used for (+5 points vs. 2023, 45% overall)





received explanations on the right behaviors to maintain a balanced microbiota (+3 points vs. 2023, 48% overall)



received information on the importance of preserving the balance of their microbiota (vs. 48% overall)

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The level of information remains low, even when it comes to prescribing antibiotics: only 30% of Portuguese have been made aware of the negative consequences of taking antibiotics on the balance of their microbiota (+3 points vs. 2023, 39% overall).

In summary

The Portuguese are characterized by a low level of knowledge about the microbiota. They are also less likely than average to have adopted behaviors to preserve it. This may be explained by the lower level of information they receive from healthcare professionals, who represent an essential source of trust and therefore a powerful lever for action.



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.