Objective: To determine the nutrient intakes and status of preschool children from a representative population sample in Adelaide. Design, setting and participants: Cross-sectional survey of children aged 1-5 years, using a stratified random sampling method and a doorknocking strategy, between September 2005 and July 2007. Main outcome measures: Dietary intake, assessed using a 3-day weighed-food diary; anthropometrics, biomarkers of iron, zinc and vitamin B12, and fatty acid profiles assessed using standard methods. Results: Median energy intakes were within dietary recommendations for the age group. Overall energy contributions from carbohydrate, protein, fat and saturated fat intakes were 50%, 17%, 33% and 16%, respectively. The rates of inadequate intake of iron, zinc, calcium and vitamin C were low, as was the prevalence of iron deficiency (5%). Only a minority of children achieved the adequate intake for n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (32%) and dietary fibre (18%). There was no association between socioeconomic status and intakes of macronutrients and key micronutrients. Fourteen per cent of children were obese (BMI, > 95th percentile); no association between BMI and energy intake was shown. Conclusions: The dietary intake of children in the study was adequate for macronutrients and the majority of micronutrients. However, low intakes of fibre and n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and high saturated fat intakes have raised concerns that this dietary pattern may be associated with adverse long-term health effects.