Purpose To evaluate the impact of food and nutrition education interventions based on the intuitive method (IM) proposed by Johaan Henrich Pestalozzi (1746–1827) at different time periods on the food practices of children and adolescents. Design This was a prospective comparative intervention program assessed by a pre–post survey at shorter term (3 months) and longer term (6 months). Setting Two institutions that provide extracurricular social support for children and adolescents with social and economic vulnerabilities in the city of Lavras, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The shorter-term intervention was conducted in Institution A and the longer term one conducted in Institution B. Subjects The sample consisted of 245 students aged between 5 and 14 years who attended the institutions. For each institution, they were divided into two groups (control and IM). Intervention We compared the effectiveness of the interventions performed by the IM or by expository actions (control) in both institutions. Interventions were focused on the guidelines of the Food Guide for the Brazilian Population and dealt with food choices, meal preparation, commensality, and obstacles to healthy eating. Measures The assessed outcomes were food consumption according to NOVA food classification, cooking self-efficacy, and knowledge about food and nutrition. Analysis Paired t-tests were used to compare food consumption before and after interventions. Adjusted logistic regression models were used to analyze the outcomes on food and nutrition knowledge and cooking self-efficacy. Results Subjects receiving IM interventions decreased mean intake of ultra-processed food (3.56 to 1.50 portions; P< .001) and had greater odds of increasing self-efficacy with cooking (OR = 2,33–4,17). Both methods were effective regarding teaching about food and nutrition. Intervention period did not homogeneously impact these outcomes. Conclusions The use of food and nutrition education interventions presented positive outcomes on the food practices of the participants. The IM is an alternative method to educate children and adolescents about healthy eating practices.
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