Queen Latifah on Staying Fit, Fabulous and Philanthropic at (Almost) 40

02/03/2010 at 05:45 PM ET

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Queen Latifah is turning 40 in March — not that she’s focused on the numbers. “To me as long as you’re young at heart, it really doesn’t matter how old you are,” Latifah tells PEOPLE. “To me, age is really how you feel on the inside.” But with time, she has learned valuable health lessons that she wishes she’d practiced earlier. “I wish I had known more about nutrition and exercise and how really good it could affect you at a younger age. Then I would have kicked it up a lot sooner,” says the Jenny Craig spokesperson, who has kept off the 20-plus pounds she shed using the weight-loss program for almost three years. Nutrition is key: “I don’t really diet. I kind of keep everything in moderation, exercise and eat right. I eat a lot of vegetables and lean meats, and I drink a whole lot of water,” Latifah says, before admitting her weakness: “Mac and cheese…I gotta have it!” Beyond her dedication to staying healthy, the star is also committed to the Haitian relief effort, co-hosting the BET Network’s “SOS Saving Ourselves — Help for Haiti” telethon with Diddy and Pharrell, airing this Friday, February 5 on BET, Centric, MTV and VH1 at 8 P.M. EST. The Procter & Gamble- and Pepsi-sponsored event will benefit charities including Wyclef Jean’s Yéle Haiti. Latifah also hopes to give on a more personal level by building orphanages, and possibly even adopting: “I would love to, but it’s going to take some time because things are in a bit of disarray down there. That is definitely something I would try to do. There are a lot of kids who are in need of a good home now, and I definitely think I can provide that.” -Arnesa A. Howell

FILED UNDER: Diet/Nutrition , Fitness

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Michele on

I think she is beautiful! Even when she was heavier, she radiates beauty and sincerity. Many women would be better off if they had her self confidence.

paula on

Queen Latifah has always presented a good role model for young girls in her rap lyrics and in positive career achievements. What does weight have to do with anything. Respect must be given for her achievements.

Herb on

I’m happy for Latifah she is a good inspiration. She is so right about age is all about the way you feel inside. Do your thing girl.

kj on

Feng Woo, you are probably 5’2′ and 95lbs at best. Quenn Latifah is almost 6 feet tall with a heavy bone structure. She is not fat! Go eat some chow mein and gain some weight!

casi on

Why do people blame being overweight on their bone structure? You were not “built” this way. You were not born over 200 lbs, you became this way due to too much mac n cheese! Granted she is huge, she is overweight and should not be a role model fitness-wise. She is a confident woman no matter what her weight, but that is not necessarily a good thing.

Brandi on

I can assure you, if all women had her level of confidence, no one would feel the need to come on here calling her overweight or fat or make jokes about how much she eats. FIRST OF ALL, if you are even remotely close to educated, you would know you can not tell by looking if someone is “HEALTHY” or not. I played basketball at a major university with females built just like her. Females probably more active than most of the 110 lb girls calling her fat here. She has an extremely large chest. Sure she is not thin, but I can assure you if you calculated her BMI (body mass index for the OBVIOUSLY UNEDCUATED POSTING ON THIS SITE) I would almost bet she fell within a healthy range for her height. It would be on the high end of her range, but it would definately not be the obese range. Educate yourselves before calling someone fat. Even moreso, in some cases it is MORE UNHEALTHY to be UNDERWEIGHT than it is to be a few pounds overweight. Read the statistics on how many people die from anorexia and bulemia every year. If you’re truly concerned about people’s size and health, be consistant, do not just do it to pick on the few that aren’t a size 2. She’s beautiful and represents THE TRUE AMERICAN WOMAN. And another note, she is the same size Marilyn Monroe was…it was just glamorous then. Think about it. :)

Melissa on

Some of you people make me sick. The only reason that you are degrading Latifah is obvious, you have your own issues about how you look. She might be fuller than some women but she has a beautiful face and radiates confidence. And Casi there IS such thing as having a large bone structure. I am a fairly fit woman that will never be a size 2 because I actually have hips and breasts and I am proud of that. Id rather have some curve to me than have a body of a 12 year old boy. Props to Latifah for having a positive attitude and for being so talented. Queen Latifah is a perfect role model “fitness wise”. She is an inspiration to all NORMAl woman that have body issues.

jill e on

weng foo you are also definately not the one to be giving advice about health. Especially about African American health you know nothing about the makeup of black peoples bodies so shut up.

Pasha on

I really wonder if the person who is calling Queen Latifa fat has ever had to work on a weight issue- it is very easy to judge those that have to work at weight loss – As for the Lady Latifa she is a remarkable person who is willing to put her “weakness” out there to help others. She appears to be an amazing lady..I for one admire her and what she stands for.

sheryl on

i think she looks amazing!!!! i am also 6 ft tall, bigger and almost 40. i will take my curves, bigger chest, normal blood pressure and blood sugar levels, good health and confidence over being an unhealthy and too skinny. my husband also agrees and said he wouldnt ever want me skinny! he loves me and my curves!

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