Flummoxed by all the health advice out there? If all the conflicting studies you constantly hear about has turned you apathetic about trying to stay healthy, try navigating the simple decision tree below. Whether your concern’s heart disease or cancer, a few clicks can help you figure out the big decisions to make to live a longer, healthier life.

That decision tree comes courtesy of Thomas Goetz, author of a new book called The Decision Tree: Taking Control of Your Health in the New Era of Personalized Medicine. In Wired, Thomas writes that “health is really just a system of inputs and outputs”:

This means we have more control over our health than we might have thought. By monitoring and tweaking our inputs, we can influence and even determine our well-being. Taken all at once, our health may seem inscrutable; laid out in a sequence, it becomes a series of decisions, each with risks, benefits, and trade-offs. In other words, we can organize our health options into a decision tree, a method for factoring in our inputs, mapping out our options, and guiding us along the best possible path.
The tree above’s rather simplistic — the general advice is to not smoke, eat healthfully, and exercise, doctor’s orders we’ve all heard by now — but Thomas’ Wired article describes more individualized decision trees for three people who wanted to reduce cancer risk, experience less pain, and even keep their teeth.

According to the book description, The Decision Tree will also show how “iPhone applications and next-generation monitoring gadgets can help individuals successfully change their behavior, once and for all.” I hope Blackberry apps will be included too. The book will be in stores Feb. 16; in the meantime you can read the first chapter here or follow The Decision Tree blog.

Health decisions, simplified
Build a decision tree to help you navigate seemingly complex health issues.