The objective of this literature review was to explore the relationship between nutritional status outcomes among ethnically diverse children and cultural and environmental contexts. Articles form the literature on anthropometric/body composition measure, diet, and physiologic outcomes among ethnically diverse children were identified through on-line literature searches and references from articles reviewed. These studies were critically reviewed and selected if they reported findings resulting from use of accepted methodologies. Explanations consistent with evaluation of results from the studies and reports were developed by synthesis of the findings. Children from underserved, ethnically diverse population groups were at increased risk for obesity, increased serum lipid levels, and dietary consumption patterns that do not meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. More than 80% of all US children consume more than the recommended amount of total fat and saturated fat. These factors, which were noted during childhood, may track into adolescence, placing these children at increased risk for the early onset of chronic diseases such as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and some forms of cancer. Although federally funded food assistance programs are changing rapidly, currently they provide foods that, when eaten as recommended, exceed the Dietary Guidelines for these children. Future interventions to improve the health and nutritional status of our nation's children, especially those from underserved, ethnically diverse groups, should be culturally appropriate and implemented at the levels of individuals, families, and communities.