The Longevity Paradox: Why do women live longer but in worse health?

Dr Kate Gregorevic

Geriatrician and Internal Medicine Physician

Throughout history, as long as women survived childbearing, women have had a longer life expectancy than men. Women do have biological advantages including two x chromosomes, which means an increased capacity to mount an immune response to infection and the cardio-protective impact of oestrogen, but women are also more likely to have chronic disease and to need assistance in activities of daily living in older age. Since the most common cause of death in younger men is trauma, a significant portion of the life expectancy gap is actually related to behaviours that arise from conforming to gender roles. The biggest cause of later life disability is inactivity and women face significant barriers to implementing positive lifestyle behaviours related to caring responsibilities and socio-economic disadvantage. To improve women’s healthspan, we need to address gender inequality, which may also close the life-expectancy gap between men and women.


Dr Kate Gregorevic is a geriatrician and internal medicine physician. She works in both acute hospital medicine and community settings. She has also completed a PhD looking at the impact of positive psychosocial factors in the development of frailty in older adults.

Lifestyle medicine is a core feature of Kate’s clinical practice, and nutrition, exercise and sleep are integral to developing plans to optimise her patients’ health. Her approach goes beyond physical, to working with people to identify their own priorities and values and always centering these in any management plans.

Kate feels that it is incredibly important to provide accurate lifestyle strategies for health to as many people as possible, and has been heard and seen widely on radio and TV. Kate is also a regular contributor to The Age/Sydney Morning Herald. Kate has written a book, Staying alive: The science of living happier, healthier and longer.

Kate is also the director of Project Three Six Twelve, an online wellbeing and exercise program, giving women over 40 the tools they need to improve strength and vitality.

Kate lives in Melbourne with her husband and three children.