A group of 11 children with iron deficiency anemia were studied with respect to intestinal structure and function. In six cases there were histological abnormalities of intestinal mucosa in varying degrees consisting of villous damage, increased activity in the crypts, increased lymphoplasmocytic infiltration and changes in the surface epithelium. Ultrastructurally, microvilli lesions, mitochondrial changes and an increase in lysosomes were observed. Relative malabsorption of iron and d-xylose malabsorption were present in a minority of patients. Functional and structural changes were correlated. Our results suggest that these changes are due to impairment of cell metabolism.