An alarming statistic she cites is 90 percent of teen girls are not meeting the daily calcium requirement while 70 percent of teen boys are not.
"Adolescents have a high-sugar diet - they probably are drinking more soda than anyone else," Belcher added.
And then there are the nutrition myths, which tend to take on lives of their own, she said. A few, according to SUDIA literature, are:
* Eating carbohydrates causes weight gain.
Excess calories and inactivity cause weight gain, not eating carbohydrates. Belcher said this is the most common myth "because of all of the fad diets." She added the key to long-term weight loss is to watch calories intake.
"That's a simplistic answer, but look at controlling portion size and reducing the calories you take in, and making physical activity a key part of every day," Belcher explained.
The optimal amount of time to exercise is 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week, she added.
"(Exercise) allows us to balance the calories in, calories out equation more easily."
* Eating sugar causes diabetes.
Diabetes is caused by a lack of insulin in the body. The main risk factors for Type 2 diabetes are inactivity and being overweight.
* Taking vitamin supplements is just as effective as eating healthy foods.
"You want to look at supplements as insurance, not as a replacement for a good diet. ... Think food, not pharmacy."
* Flavored milk isn't good for children.
Flavored milk is an excellent choice for children. A new study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found children and adolescents who drank flavored milk had better overall nutrition and lower weights than those who didn't drink milk.
"Sugar doesn't provide vitamins and minerals but it makes some foods more palatable," Belcher said. "In schools, flavored milk is a more popular choice and that encourages more children to drink milk. That can be a positive in that more students are more likely to meet their calcium requirement ... if they are encouraged to drink milk.
"Children and adolescents that drank milk - those kids who drank flavored milk - had better overall nutrition and weighed less than those who did not drink milk at all."
"(These myths) can lead people to make poor choices," Belcher said. "One of the myths - that carbs cause weight grain - if you then avoid carbs, you may be avoiding foods that provide key nutrition. Fruits and vegetables, dairy such as milk and yogurt, and whole grains have carbs. If you're avoiding them, you're missing fiber, calcium and antioxidants.
"It's a concern that people have proper information when making food choices. What we put together is some of the most common myths - a nutrition fact sheet with 10 of the most common myths."
Don't ditch the dairy
Belcher said they hear about young women especially who "totally ditch the dairy because they are concerned about gaining weight."
"We want to help people realize that one cup of fat-free milk has 80 calories - fewer than a juice drink or a soda. Plus, it has eight other vitamins and minerals as well as protein."
It isn't a myth that dairy foods are part of a healthy diet, Belcher added. "They lower blood pressure, build healthy bones and help control our weight."
People need to be conscious of what they're eating every time they make a selection, she said. They must look at how to get the most nutrition for the fewest number of calories. Belcher said when she's on the road, that's just what she does. "And it's not fried food with mayonnaise or a heavy salad dressing," she noted.
On the day of the interview, she stopped at a food court for lunch. Her choices? A wrap that had lean, grilled chicken, fresh veggies, whole-grain bread, no dressing and a lowfat milk rather than a soft drink."
Belcher said one of the most important aspects to good nutrition and weight control is to eat breakfast.