A community based cross sectional anthropometric study was conducted to assess the nutritional status of children under 5 years of age in north western Ethiopia. One thousand four hundred and twenty two children were enrolled in the study. Stunting which is expressed by height for age below -2 standard deviation (SD) was seen in 43% of the children. The prevalence of wasting which is expressed by weight for height below -2 SD was 9%. The highest percentages of stunting and wasting were found in the age group 12-23 months. Compared with the national Center for Health Statistics (USA)/World health organization (NCHS/WHO) reference data all the indicators were shifted to the left. Urgent nutritional rehabilitation for those that are wasted, proper nutritional education for reducing the high prevalence of malnutrition and identifying risk factors for the poor nutritional status is suggested.