(Feb. 17) The 5 a Day for Better Health program is upping the ante. At stake in the game is the dietary health of Americans.

Broadening the 12-year-old campaign’s message from 5 a Day to 5 to 9 a Day is a smart move. Awareness of the dietary advice continues to climb, but the dining habits of consumers aren’t following suit. Consumption is still below the lowest goal.

Giving consumers a range may help them realize that getting “almost” 5 a Day isn’t really good enough. And the slight change in the logo and slogan shouldn’t be enough to cause consumer confusion.

With all the news reports and medical studies decrying the level of obesity in the U.S., this is a step in the right direction. Continued efforts to get the message out, of course, will be crucial. The stepped-up involvement of the National Cancer Institute, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services is key.

The enhanced campaign should dovetail with the 5 a Day the Color Way effort, designed to encourage consumers to eat produce of a variety of colors to gain the most benefit from their 5 a Day choices.

The Produce for Better Health Foundation, along with its counterparts at NCI and other government agencies, should take care, however, to practice what they preach. In chastising the dairy industry for its new 3 a Day program, the argument should stick to the nutrition flaws inherent in the dairy message. To protest a loss of brand equity in the 5 a Day name would be risky, given the recent launch of the Color Way logo and this logo and slogan change.

No doubt the health of the produce industry is on the line, as well.

If the nation’s consumption were to reach nine servings of produce a day, produce sales would nearly double. Such growth is worth betting on.