Vitamin A deficiency even at subclinical levels is associated with increased childhood mortality. There have been few studies related to vitamin A status of children in Turkey. The aim of this study was to assess vitamin A status of children aged 6-59 months in Izmir, Turkey, and to evaluate the relationship of these levels with nutritional status. One hundred and sixty children were selected for the study using the cluster sampling method. Serum retinol levels were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and ranged from 9.8 to 59.2 mu g/dL (mean 29.3 +/- 9.5 mu g/dL). Levels were below the lower limit of the normal range in 15.6% of the children. Deficient and marginal serum retinol among stunted children were observed in 16% and 42% respectively. There was a statistically significant relationship between low serum retinol and stunting (P < 0.05). Although xerophthalmia and other clinical signs of vitamin A deficiency are rarely seen, subclinical vitamin A deficiency is a public health problem in Izmir, Turkey.