The study also concludes that stress and anxiety were feelings that affected almost half of national respondents and that Portuguese were the ones who least considered their physical health status as “good” or “very good”.

The study 'Merck survey: Europeans perception of health two years after the start of Covid 19' was carried out with people aged between 18 and 65 years living in Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom United, Czech Republic and Switzerland, through a CAWI approach (interviews carried out over the internet).

The national sample consisted of 600 people and the interviews took place between 31 August and 8 September, 2021.

The study's findings, released in a statement, revealed that 29 percent of Portuguese women under 44 admitted to having postponed their maternity plans because of the pandemic.

The survey also states that only 22 percent of the Portuguese population said they wanted to carry out more fertility treatments during the pandemic, with the age group above 45 years old being the group that most considered this possibility.

Other impacts

“But the pandemic had other impacts, such as stress and anxiety (49 percent), fear and uncertainty (38 percent), feelings that affected more than a third of people in Portugal, while feelings of stress rose to 48 percent in men and 57 percent in women”, says the statement.

Psychological problems (33 percent) are one of the main consequences of the pandemic suffered by the Portuguese, a figure slightly above the European average (30 percent), which was accompanied by difficulty in fulfilling family and work responsibilities (27 percent, equal to the average European).

As for the physical health status, 42 percent rated it as “good” or “very good”, the lowest value among the 10 countries, followed by the Belgians and Germans (both with 49 percent).

There was also a low value when asked about emotional health, with 38 percent considering it to be “good” or “very good”, a value that places Portugal in the one but last place, and Germany last (37 percent).

For 76 percent of respondents, more investment is needed in preventive medicine and public health, a figure well above the European average (56 percent), followed by a greater commitment to mental health (57 percent versus 41 percent of the European average) and health care.

Social life was reduced to six in 10 Europeans, a figure much higher than that of the Portuguese: only two in 10 suffered this as a consequence of the pandemic.

The data also reveal that 21 percent of Portuguese say they have improved their diet (20 percent the European average), 25 percent reduced their consumption of alcohol and drugs (versus 24 percent) and 33 percent had less sex.