In order to investigate the relations of iodine deficiency and/or goiter with selenium (Se) and antioxidant enzyme (AOE) status, we determined the relevant parameters of goitrous high school children living in an endemic goiter area of Turkey. Subjects were selected by a simple random sampling technique after screening the whole population of the high schools of two towns by neck palpation. The results of the goitrous group (n = 48, aged 15-18 yr) were compared with those of nongoitrous control children (n = 49) from the same populations, and with an outside control group (n = 24) from a lower-goiter-prevalence area. The overall prevalence of goiter was 39.6% in the high school population of the area. Activities of erythrocyte AOE (glutathion peroxidase, catalase, and superoxide dismutase) and concentrations of plasma and erythrocyte Se and urinary iodine were found to be significantly lower in goitrous children than both in-region and out-region of the control groups. When the whole study group was reclassified according to the severity of iodine deficiency, it was found that the AOE and Se status of those control children without goiter but with high iodine deficiency was significantly higher than goitrous children, although they did not differ from nondeficient control group. This might be the result of the possibility that goitrous children are exposed of oxidative stress, which may introduce alterations to the antioxidant defense system and/or the antioxidant status is relatively lower in goitrous children than those children who are highly iodine-deficient but did not develop goiter. The results of this study seem to support the view that the risk of goiter development may be higher in highly iodine-deficient children with lower enzymatic antioxidant and Se status.