Unconditional Cash Transfers and Maternal Assessments of Children's Health, Nutrition, and Sleep: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Children experiencing poverty are more likely to experience worse health outcomes, including injury, chronic illness, and poor sleep and are more likely to use emergency health services. Numerous factors likely contribute to these associations, including poor prenatal care, exposure to environmental toxicants, low quality housing and neighborhoods, and lack of access to medical care and nutritious foods. Poverty may also impact young children’s sleep through parental mental health and the quality of the sleep environment and bedtime routines. The present study evaluates the effect of a poverty reduction intervention on children’s health, nutrition, sleep, and health care utilization in the first 3 years of life. Such an intervention exemplifies a scalable public health approach. We hypothesized that a monthly, unconditional cash transfer would improve maternal assessments of children’s health, nutrition, and sleep, and reduce use of emergency health care.