A historical review of anthropometric studies conducted on Turkish children and adults is presented. In view of observed differences in growth status between children of different societies, the need for local reference standards and the methodology to be used for such studies have been stressed. The importance of local studies in reflecting the state of health and nutrition both in children and adults has also been mentioned. While a number of studies in children cited in this paper are designed to compare the growth of children from different socioeconomic levels, other studies aim to establish local reference data for Turkish children. While the historical studies in adults aim to define racial characteristics, the more recent studies aim to bring out nutritional characteristics with emphasis on increasing frequency of obesity.