There have been many studies on the nutrition and the growth status of children from rural and remote western regions of China, whereas researches on children from urban low-income families are scarce. This study aimed to investigate the growth and nutritional status of children under five years of age from urban low-income families in China. There were 169 children aged 25–60 months recruited from Xiangtan and Jilin, two cities with a population of 2.81 million and 4.26 million respectively, in China in this cluster cross-sectional study. Data were collected on demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, the feeding practices and the incidence of anemia and diarrhea. The results showed that the prevalence of low birth weight and macrosomia was 7.1% and 9.5% for the two cities, respectively, which was higher than that for other cities in China (1.5% and 5.9%). Of all the sampled children, 14.6% and 8.2% suffered anemia and diarrhea, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed that legumes or nuts fed in a 24-h recall increased the risk of anemia (OR=4.9). Children whose caregivers began to introduce complementary foods relatively late would have high diarrhea prevalence (OR=1.4). In conclusion, the prevalence of anemia and diarrhea in under-five children from urban low-income families in China is relatively high. The growth and nutritional status of these children is greatly affected by feeding practices. A series of measures should be taken by relevant government departments to improve the health of these children.